At the End of the Day I Burst Into Flames by Nicholas Day

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Publisher: JournalStone - Bizarro Pulp Press | Release Date: Dec. 21, 2018 | Pages: 82

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When we first meet Marty, his eyes have just exploded from the intense heat burning inside him, a heat that will boil over and consume him, his body igniting like a Roman candle at his moment of death. His father died in the same way, spontaneously combusting in front of Marty when he was only seven.

Obviously, the fire is a metaphor for death, but as Marty recounts his life to us in his final moments it's clear that Nicholas Day is mining far deeper issues, both emotionally and psychologically. At the End of the Day I Burst Into Flames is about the fires that consume us all - life, death, love, hate, anger, our passions and experiences that define us and drive us. While we're expected to take Marty's account at face value, that he and the men on his side of the family literally burst into flames, we all burn in similar ways over the course of our own lives. We all burn from the experience of being human.

At the End of the Day I Burst Into Flames is Marty's autobiographical accounting of his life, with a particular focus on those childhood experiences that have informed him as an adult. He's addicted to love, but also on friendly speaking terms with Death. He's known since he was young what his ultimate end would be, and as the fire begins to take hold the moment of his passing is not a time for reckoning but accounting and reflection.

Marty's struggles are intimately familiar, his reflections utterly relatable. Hemingway once said that writing is easy, that "All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." It's clear throughout the whole of this slim novella that Day has bled and bled over each of these pages. In his afterword, Day thanks those who helped bring At the End of the Day I Burst Into Flames to life, writing, "Because of you, this text exists as a book instead of a suicide note."

For as well as we get to know Marty, I can't help but feel that I got to know quite a bit about Nicholas, as well. I'm glad this book was brought to life, and I'm glad that Day is still with us and has shared his voice with us. I hope that those things that consume and drive him do not prompt him to burn prematurely and that he decides to stay with us for as long as he can. He's got a great voice, readers, and it's one well worth paying attention to.