In the land of eternal sunshine, life may seem smooth and simple, but there is conflict brewing beneath the waves. In Surfing with Snakes & Dragons: And Other Tales of Suburbia, author Roger J. Couture spins eight enrapturing tales of a freewheeling life that are imbued with energy, danger, and the confusing growing pains of youth.
At first glance, the stories are a procession of surfing, machismo, sex, booze, and rock ‘n roll, but there is more going on behind the façade of coolness. Passages of self-reflection and internal monologues convey the tumultuous spirits of these young characters, as well as their unusual desires. From dancing with the devil to finally facing the fact that life is about more than hangovers and hookups, these interconnected stories paint a slightly darker picture of the “good life” than most people would expect.
Couture sets the suburban scene for readers in stark, agonizing detail; he captures the cadence and conversational style of his characters very well, and at no point do the stories seem clichéd or forced. The stories are ambiguous as life can sometimes be, providing snatches of experience and a sense of who these people are, but never suggesting a solution to their obvious problems.
A quick polish on the book’s grammar, as well as breaking some of the longer paragraphs into more manageable chunks, would help the flow of the read, but generally, this is a strong collection, and the stories in Surfing with Snakes & Dragons are oddly captivating and rewarding.