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Badass on a Softail

by T.F. Rigelhof

It’s not what you do, but why you do it. That nugget of pop psychology is at the heart of Quebec novelist T.F. Rigelhof’s latest book, Badass on a Softail.

Protagonist David Hoffer finds himself at an existential crossroad on his 44th birthday. A reformed badass – he’s an ex-biker with a Heritage Softail Harley Davidson – Hoffer is forced by circumstance to examine the whos, whats, wheres, and whys of life. The introspection begins when Hoffer’s mentor dies of prostrate cancer. That loss is profound enough, but faster than you can say “awopbopaloobopalobamboom,” Rigelhof adds to Hoffer’s troubles. They come hard and fast. A disgruntled ex-wife. A lover half his age. A difficult business partner. A cult that moves in next door. Hoffer seeks refuge from his woes on a trip to Fredericton to visit his mother and her same-sex partner. With their direction, Hoffer looks inward and begins to understand the whys of his existence.

Rigelhoff soaks every page with brash, culture-jamming prose, weaving rock lyrics into his beat-inspired writing. Describing Hoffer leaving the arms of his young lover after an afternoon tryst to make an appointment in Montreal Rigelhof writes: “Five four four six and Hoffer gets my point that we ought to be half an hour nearer to the city and Jumping Jack in a flash he disentangles his lighter arms from darker arms and his hairy legs from smooth legs.” It’s challenging prose that will delight many readers, but might leave the less pop culture savvy scratching their heads.
It’s been said that all good novels are about the search for meaning. In Badass on a Softail, Rigelhof takes us on an lively journey where life, death, love, and hate collide, forcing readers to examine their own preconditioned responses to the vagaries of everyday life.


Reviewer: Richard Crouse

Publisher: Goose Lane


Price: $18.95

Page Count: 280 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 0-86492-185-3

Released: Oct.

Issue Date: 1997-10

Categories: Fiction: Novels