I’m a sucker for collections of essays, and Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan fit the bill. I’ve come across him as a writer here and there in magazines, and I should have been paying more attention. His writing is lively, his viewpoint is slightly off-kilter, and his topics are unusual in a way that draws you in. From examining the town where Axl Rose grew up to mulling over how his house was used as the setting for a television show (One Tree Hill) to a fabricated essay about a fake professor who believes that animals on the planet are in revolt against mankind, Sullivan lays the storytelling on thick with insight and humor.
I appreciated the focus around music for a lot of the essays, too. Along with the piece of erratic Rose (the GnR singer), the book includes insightful essays about the originators of Deep South Blues who have been mostly forgotten by time, insights into the impact of Michael Jackson on pop culture, an interview with Jamaican reggae pioneer Bunny Wailer, and the opening piece in this collection in which he travels to a Christian Rock festival. Sullivan immerses himself and the reader into this these stories, using rich language, anecdotes and personal stories.
John Jeremiah Sullivan is one of those writers who sees the essay form in a creative way. You won’t be disappointed in the stories he weaves here in Pulphead.
Peace (in the pulp),