Gonzo journalism is alive and well in Luke Williams’ DOWN AND OUT IN PARADISE.
Escaping a harrowing head space as much as the homophobic hometown of Bundaberg, Williams first flees to the putrid Grandma-burnt-her-filtyhy-eggs-again halfway house in Melbourne then escapes Australia, Australians, an Australian Community Service Order, his sister, his former psychology clinic which was trying to sue him, and the high culture of lumpen koalas for Kuala Lumpur.
And so begins three year labyrinthine libertine thoroughfare through Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Vietnam and the Philippines, where he meets and mingles with sex addicts, opium smokers, money boys, lady boys, ghost whisperers and tarot readers.
Here are morally lapsed ex pats that went east to break taboos or break the law, to get rich, feel rich, work less, spread their cheeks, spread Christ, turn the other, free slaves or find one, DOWN AND OUT IN PARADISE examines the empowerment of the pathetic.
Luke Williams puts the mad into nomad with hereditary mental illness his travelling companion as he traverses geographical and emotional terrain that is humid, fetid and fecund.
Dreams and disappointments, agonies and ecstasies, all enthrallingly and appallingly enlarged and magnified by the acid tripped, acquisitive addictive personality, a schizoid affective with meth in his madness.
More or less, more is less on a mind altered quest for less is more with a moral compass constantly pointing due south to a dark as molasses destination.
Three years later, back in Bundaberg, Luke starts seeing someone with the curiously titled job position: Suicide Aftercare Worker.
DOWN AND OUT IN PARADISE is a homage to vagabondia an experimental, innovative, fast-paced and ever-surprising travel-guide, a complex mix of memoir and reportage, a rag tag assortment of crazy characters and nutty situations.
DOWN AND OUT IN PARADISE by Luke Williams is published by Echo