Nina: By Blag Dahlia, 111 pgs. By Aphid

Jan 16, 2007

Ever wonder what sort of thoughts rattle around inside the head of the self-proclaimed “Best Looking Man in Show Business”? Of course, all fans of the Dwarves know the sort of bloodied midget-sized thoughts that rush out of Blag Dahlia’s head to take form as lyrics in minute-and-a-half coked-up punk blasts, but what if those thoughts were given room to expand beyond the conventional restrictions of the lyrical format and were allowed to diddle themselves in public? What would we have then? In the case of this lean and agitating novella—Blag’s second published book—you wind up with a sensation somewhat like watching helicopter footage of some sociopath in a stolen army tank, rolling along city streets and squashing everything in its path. But in this case, the tank flattening everything like cheap lawn furniture is a ridiculously hot fifteen-year-old epileptic nympho named Nina West. This is a girl—or devotchka—who’s part Paris Hilton, part Lizzie Borden, part Valerie Solanas, and one big part Blag Dahlia. Needless to say, she’s one of the more interesting and titillating noir anti-heroes to kick down the door in a long time. Nina’s credo seems to be “sex is always good; it is other people that are bad,” and she metes out her icy cold contempt for humanity on everyone from a Catholic priest to a couple of prepubescent Girl Scouts. And in the process, a good deal of blood and semen gets spilled. Affix whatever DSM psychological classifications on her you want—she’s a girl whose alarmingly natural ability to do what the psychologists call “disassociate” rivals that of the famously inept U.S. President known as G. Dubya. Her guiltless, guileful nihilism affords her the ability to fuck people while simultaneously totally fucking them over. Yep, ol’ Blag spins a tawdry yarn; his Hemingway-like economy with words, combined with what a lit professor might call his “aestheticization of violence,” will illicit obvious comparisons to Jim Thompson. And I can think of plenty worse people to be compared to. This book has a little something for everyone, depending on your perspective: a brazen teenage hussy for the pedophiles or a vamped-up Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill-style heroine for the young girls to look up to. Whether this book would be considered noir fiction or tabloid raunch or “art brut” doesn’t really matter. It’s a helluva entertaining read and a gob of hot spit in your eye. –Aphid Peewit (

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