Life on the Bolotomy
Leroy recalls a childhood journey of discovery that he made from the mouth of the Bolotomy River to its source, traveling with his best (and imaginary) friend Rodney “Raskol” Lodkochnikov. The journey begins with the work of turning a packing case (which Cap’n Andrew Leech intends to use, later, as a coffin) into a shallow-draft boat, it involves encounters with a philosophical vagrant and a gaggle of beautiful nymphs, and it ends with the metaphor of life as a river turned on its head.
"Life on the Bolotomy concerns the river journey of Peter and his chum Raskolnikov to the source of the Bolotomy River — a riotous inversion of both Thoreau's Merrimack expedition and Huck ’n’ Jim's Mississippi quest"
“The urge to include all of life, to be comprehensive, marks the conspicuous literary overachievers — Proust, Tolstoy, Joyce — and Kraft’s style of refining distinctions almost to the point of finikiness is related to that urge. In these novellas, however, the devices also seem to be an aspect of the author’s modesty; it’s as if his words could not bring enough of the world into a book. And the novellas invoke what has been conventionally looked upon as a degraded form, the comic book. The series grew out of a picture-and-print Peter Leroy newsletter that Eric Kraft began sending to a couple of hundred friends and then to their friends during the nineteen-seventies. Kraft refers to this as ’samizdat’ publication, but it is strikingly American, recalling in its nature, and in the affectionate cultishness with which it was welcomed, the cartoons of R. Crumb, Harvey Pekar (whose miserable autobiographies are sometimes drawn by R. Crumb), and Art Spiegelman.”