3 out of 4 stars
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Inside the Mind of Martin Mueller is a mind-bending novella by E A Luetkemeyer. Business mogul Martin Mueller pulls his canary yellow Lamborghini Espada into the driveway of his country estate, where he lives in a stately manor with his wife, Millie. Meanwhile, "Crazy Carl" sits in a prison cell, fingers poised over a typewriter, writing a book, surrounded by an eclectic mix of books and newspapers. Soon, Mueller is typing in his own prison cell, which he has entered voluntarily; the prison is located beneath his manor. We are unsure whether Mueller in prison or Mueller in his house is the correct reality - or if it's a weird combination of both.
Mueller is working on the "Fragmentation of the Over-soul", attempting to solve the mysteries of humanity: where we come from, where we go, and why we are all so different. To make things more confusing, another prison inmate, Wilbur, writes far-fetched stories exploring the outer limits of human thought and reality. And Mueller himself, due for release "in a day and a wake-up", is more excited about smoking pot in prison with outlaw bikers than going back to his old life, because "these characters hold the key to reassembling the scattered shards of the shattered Over-soul of Mankind!"
Luetkemeyer is a definite scholar of human history and the English language, using both to great effect in his tale. His character description includes: "a lanky, angular, loose-limbed kid whose features seem to be dismantling, as in a cubist portrait by Braque or Leger: crude braidings of bristly hair leap from his head like a small explosion has gone off," while a historical figure "had a penchant for pus, a predilection for pestilence, a partiality for putrefaction." This particular passage pertains to prominent prognosticator Nostradamus. You've got to love tongue twisters!
I quickly became enthralled by this tale with its study of the complexities of humanity and the reality we share, not least because I spent much of my time trying to figure out what was really happening! I love mind-bending tales which mess with reality, so this one had me hooked. Mueller is on a very existential quest, seeking answers to why every person doesn't "contain the entire spectrum of traits available to mankind, so that we are all one." The author uses an interesting technique for dialogue, omitting all quotation marks. I quickly adapted to this, with the speech easy to follow given the context of who was speaking. The story features some great combative yet affectionate banter between the prison inmates, exchanges highly amusing in their accuracy.
The only problem with this story was some minor errors, mainly with punctuation and changes of tense. Due to how many there were, I must rate Inside the Mind of Martin Mueller 3 out of 4 stars. Otherwise, it would be 4 stars for certain. It is a luminous, far-fetched, existential mind-trip with a freaky twist ending. I think I could read it several times and get something new out of it each time. A brilliantly conceived journey into the darkest corners of the human mind, it has enough uncertainty to leave you wondering: Did I get the ending after all? Did I really? It is definitely best suited to readers who enjoy expansive mental journeys into dark and confusing places. I loved it.
[Moderator Note: The reviewer read an advanced pre-publication draft copy before the book was published. The errors noted were corrected prior to publishing.
Inside The Mind Of Martin Mueller
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