Going to New Orleans is the story of Lewis King, a jazz trumpet player who lands a gig in the Big Easy. King is a genius on cornet, but his private life is emotionally, morally, and financially bankrupt. He's a heavy drinker and compulsive sexual manipulator, prone to paranoid fits of violent rage. His girlfriend, Ms Sugarlicq, can't keep her pants on. But as equally deviant sexual predators and jealous hypocrites, they're perfect for each other...
Going to New Orleans is a fantastic and graphic first-person narrative that serves as a surreal-but-faithful guide to the music, food, history, and literature of New Orleans. A spiritual book, as well as a dirty one.
Tom Snyder, The Georgia Straight, wrote: "If books had bloodlines, Going to New Orleans would be a cousin to both Michael Ondaatje's Coming Through Slaughter and Tom Walmsley's Doctor Tin, and a bastard grandchild of Georges Bataille's The Story of the Eye. Like Slaughter, the protagonist is a horn player with a dark side, New Orleans in all its voodoo glory is a central character, and the language is evocative and spare. As with Tin and Eye, the all-pervasive sexuality is transgressive, perverse, algolagnic, and disturbingly captivating, like seeing a car wrecked after running the red-light district." The subtitled, A Dirty Book, underplays the sex and violence, spontaneous, public, and often anonymous, that thoroughly permiates this book.
"Going to New Orleans" follows alcoholic jazz trumpeter Lewis King and his girlfriend, Ms Sugarlicq, as they travel from quiet Victoria in Canada to the humid underbelly of New Orleans. New Orleans, in all its voodoo glory, is a central character in this surreal debut novel.
"My name is Lewis King. I play trumpet. My girlfriend is insane, and so am I," jazz musician King says on waking from a disturbing dream. He invites his Ms Sugarlicq to accompany him to a gig in New Orleans, and the plot dives into a surreal mix of kinky sex, literary and musical allusions, and a bawdy guide to New Orleans. King and Sugarlicq's adventures range from sickening to bizarre to surreal. The language is evocative and spare. The line between reality and fantasy is blurred as much of the action takes place in a drunken haze. Living up to its subtitle - A Dirty Book - Going to New Orleans is thick with spontaneous, public, and often anonymous sex and violence.
Michael Puttonen's narration catches the flavor of the jazz soloist art.