Written by: Matt Molgaard
I opened Acetone Enema with high hopes. Sometimes the extremely outlandish works are the ones that really resonate. Joe R. Lansdale, who we’ll be dedicating a full day of coverage to, is proof of that. Tillemans however, is no Lansdale. In fact, sadly, he’s not even remotely near a shadow of Lansdale. I suppose that’s not a terrible thing, as Joe’s a one of a kind author with an imagination that is virtually unparalleled in this field. All the same, Tillemans effort doesn’t pale in comparison, it’s entirely transparent.
This collection of works utilizes one recurring theme: sex and violence, with a hint of human condition study buried beneath the surface. Now, can I personally enjoy fiction of such nature? Absolutely. Having said that, the content really has to be there. Something special has to strike a chord with me, and I don’t typically favor overtly sadistic or degrading works. Acetone Enema is a little bit of both, and unravels as a somewhat misogynistic anthology.
I don’t necessarily believe Nicholas hates women, but if you read this work, and completely disagree, leaping to brand the man sexist or outright chauvinistic… well, I don’t blame you. At times, the content of this anthology feels quite degrading.
Tillemans clearly aims to shock readers with this collection, and from time to time, he succeeds in doing so. The major problem with Acetone Enema however, is that any shock factor to be found, is rehashed time and again, completely neutralizing the impact of the collection’s stronger stories and leaving readers with a generally flat amalgamation of fiction. The pages fly by, but we’re never mystified by any one specific tale, and by the time the final page has been turned, one factor really strikes: This is a one-note collection, through and through.
The book features eight short stories accompanied by five interesting little poems. While a few of the poems prove worthy of a read, the stories themselves feel like carbon copies of one another. Seven of eight stories are told from the first person perspective, with only the final breaking the mold and attempting a different approach. Interestingly enough, the closing tale, The Mound, is a collaborative effort with Mike Philbin, and it’s the only piece to really grab readers.
Each story basically lines up a little ultra-violence, utilizing intense sexual acts as a springboard. That’s a fun ploy… for a story or two. Not eight. Especially when every tale reads as “I this, I that, I went, I was, I will, I won’t, I did, I didn’t, I can, I can’t, I hate, I broke, etc. etc.” There’s just zero versatility in this one. Although I’ve got to say, Tillemans may have set a new record: The word ‘I’ must be used about 5,000 times in 150 pages.
Had there been a more cohesive nature to this collection – perhaps an almost diary-like approach to create a connection between tales – these stories may have potentially worked a bit better. Well, the anthology as a whole might have worked better, the shorts themselves could benefit from some work. Tillemans prose isn’t top notch, he isn’t all too detailed in his narrative and he seems almost incapable of truly painting a picture for readers. As it is, as much as I hate to say it, these are just words on paper. There isn’t much in the way of true heart here; it feels as though these stories were crafted with zero passion, time killers and nothing more.
If you’re perverted and favor the unorthodox, Acetone Enema might do the trick for you. Personally, I thought it was a very drab collection that never attempts to showcase flexibility or true creativity. Acetone Enema had me hoping for something dynamic, but ultimately sputters and falls into a monotonous rut that cannot be escaped, even with the help of the book’s last tale, which was an admittedly fun read.
If you want to give this one a go, you can order it right here.