Reading Idle Hands, by Michael A. Occhionero, is like creeping a very unassuming nice boy on Instagram and quickly finding out that he’s actually a low-down, panty-rousing, shit-disturbing derelict with aspirations of both grandeur and of a common life. At first, his antics are amusing, relatable at best. And before you know it, you’ve given all of your waking hours to one-more-paging it with him and his slew of ill-advised decisions. A must-read if, like me, you find yourself in need of something familiar with a twist of what-the-fuck-ness.
In this first-person narrated fiction the protagonist, Marcus, is faced with the ubiquitous question of what to do with his life. Freshly out of school, and with a penchant for sexy, short French Quebecois women with perfect teeth he idly, and rather subconsciously chooses not to make any deliberate choices. Instead, he inadvertently opts for letting life choose for him. This endless drifting washes him up to Franz’s doorstep, where ego meets id, and where the proverbial straps start to unravel, leaving the reader to ponder the meaning of organized chaos and the futility of life.
This first publication, for both Occhionero and Ace of Swords Publishing back in 2017 sets the tone for this small but powerful local publishing house with great potential. A Montreal-based company, AOS Publishing has been the launch pad for Occhionero’s work, including his second novel Alt 4-1, published in 2019, and an upcoming collection of poetry.
IG Handle: @_stephpolic