Invisible Driving Reviewed by Pristine

01 Invisible Driving Cover Framed 2

Bombastic, Hilarious, Jazzy, Courageous, Soulful

When I read a book, watch a movie, or listen to a recording, I usually bypass the description, preface, foreword, and audience reviews. I guess you can say I like to embark on an adventure completely unprepared. That’s the way I like all my journeys: destinations are clich√©, the originality is getting there.

A friend recommended Invisible Driving as an intro to the works of Alistair McHarg. I dove right in without a clue as to what it was about, and I started laughing. The humour, for me, comes from that self-assured tone of grandeur, a careful tightrope balancing act that teeters on self-mockery. The easiest way I can describe Invisible Driving is to imagine being in a carpool with John Waters, David Helfgott, and Mickey Spillane. The owner and driver of the car is Glenn Gould. Where are we going in the middle of an early morning?

Free association words pour out in an unexpected deluge like Coltrane free jazz Impressions improvisations that lasts for hours, part jazz scatting, part beat poetry; but fear not, there is a prudent narrator that steps in on the intervention before the car goes over the cliff. That voice is brave, honest, and generous in it’s willingness to share what is, in essence, the metaphor for which Invisible Driving represents.

What sometimes comes off as humor and jokey asides turns out to be illustrations of thought patterns that go through the author’s head during his episodes. Reading Invisible Driving is probably as close to manic depression as many of us will get. The images are rich, even as desperation mounts in Mr. McHarg’s tiny oyster of brotherly love. Unexpected beatific passages get squeezed out between one liners as dime store romances are roundhoused with the sultriness and muscle of Mike Hammer. Kaleidoscopic ideas let fly like Eric Dolphy in Europe, scat like King Pleasure.

I’m not sure it is at all possible to review an autobiography charting the course of mania. The format of this work IS the message. Alternating between chapters of confessional dead seriousness with those of grandiloquent whimsy, the reference point of reality is blurred into a terror fondue of Cretans and paradoxes. Invisible Driving is a wonderful work of originality, and to say it could have been written any other way would be to ask someone who has shared an original recipe to change its ingredients and preparatory steps.

Pristine S

To see the original review or purchase a copy of Invisible Driving click HERE

Published by

Alistair McHarg

Alistair McHarg was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, moved immediately to Edinburgh, and three years later moved to Amsterdam. At 6 he settled in Philadelphia and for 16 years was confused by Quaker education; Germanton Friends School and Haverford College. A Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Louisville nudged him even closer to unemployability.

Convinced at an early age that fate had chosen writing as his calling, Alistair followed a characteristically slow and circuitous path. He has found work as deck hand on a Norwegian tramp freighter touring South America, Bureau of Land Management Emergency Fire Fighter in Alaska, guide at a Canadian wilderness survival camp, truck driver crisscrossing Colorado’s continental divide, and inner city cabbie.

Alistair has been arranging words on paper for a living since 1983.