Review of “Reapings of a Menstrual Cycle” by Jared P.Q.R. Milo
by Steven Wolf
Jared P.Q.R. Milo’s “Reapings of a Menstrual Cycle” is the kind of inspirational, revolutionary work that seems to crystalize out of air. Some may say it is too early to call it the defining book of our time—but what else can you call a book this humorous, this touching, this unforgettable. Ostentatious, but still subdued. It will be hailed as the most important piece of literature in this dry, commercial 21st Century. I bow to agree. Toni Morrison may have “Beloved,” and James Joyce may have “Ulysses,” but Jared P.Q.R. Milo has “A Menstrual Cycle.”
It begins with a young girl’s account of her first bout with menses, but quickly evolves into an existential sex dream where famous historical and mythological figures discuss what they consider to be the greatest artistic expression of our day. I’m talking, of course, about 9/11. It then switches to a slave narrative, where a young boy struggles with his transgenderism, his abusive, alcoholic and anti-Semitic mother, and his love of horticulture. The next hundred pages are just screenshots from a Wal-Mart shopping catalogue, a biting commentary on consumerism, capitalism, and utilitarian Ergonomics.
The narrative then picks back up with a novel within a novel within a novel within a poem, where Alice Munro and David Foster Wallace struggle with their addiction to methamphetamines and poppers, in a surprisingly post-modern way. All this explodes into four hundred pages of Jared P.Q.R. Milo explaining where he would put all the awards the book might receive. I suggest he clears the meth pipes from his desk, because I hear a National Book Award takes up a lot of room. The book then concludes with a gentle, two page CV, where P.Q.R. Milo documents his work experience, the awards and scholarships he has received, and his thoughts on the Illuminati.
Special note should be paid to the cover art, which is a simple black and white picture, which he claims was taken by Anne Lebowitz, of Jared P.Q.R. Milo threatening to kill himself if those “cocksucking Illuminati fucks don’t give him the fucking Pulitzer.” It also looks as if someone slapped an “Oprah’s Book Club” sticker on the front, made of post-it notes and masking tape.
I can’t even begin to explicate the enormous complexities of this book, which is so rich, so vibrant, so filled with diagrams of anal prolapse that it will take years to digest. And no, there isn’t a gun to my head. Why would you think that? Why would you think I’m writing this because Jared P.Q.R. Milo broke into my house and threatened to split me open like a squealing pig? That’s silly. Stop thinking that. Stop thinking that right now.
“Reapings of a Menstrual Cycle” is just an important book. It is a sign of the times, a warning to those who feel the written word is dead. Jared P.Q.R. Milo’s “Reapings of a Menstrual Cycle” will be here forever. Not just because Milo carved the book onto concrete slabs, but because it is just that important.
But how amusing would it be if all that stuff about him threatening to kill me was true? How funny would it be if he had a gun to my head and was threatening to hang my children like gutted fish from the rafters of my brownstone? You should call the police if you think that. And how funny would it be if there was a hidden message in the first few paragraphs about which warehouse in Queens he’s planning to take me to? That would be so funny! Five stars! Five fucking stars! Please don’t kill me, I gave it five stars!
Steven Wolf is a California native, currently living in New York. His work has previously been featured in Pseudopod, Jamais Vu, Sugared Water, and Big Pulp. There’s a decent chance he’s online right now. See for yourself at facebook.com/wolfymcwolfwolf. Or, on Twitter at @wolfymcwolfwolf. He could probably use the company.