Meet Joe. Joe has no last name but he is a 6’2″ Syrian-American doctor with blond hair and blue eyes. In the self-published novel “Belle Isle: Detroit’s Game Changer,” Joe returns to his native Detroit to visit the quasi-independent protectorate/libertarian paradise of Belle Isle after living and running a hospital in Damascus for the past 20 years.
“Belle Isle: Detroit’s Game Changer,” as you may have guessed, is an attempt to win hearts and minds for that plan to buy Detroit’s signature public park for one billion dollars, secede from Michigan, and build a tax-free gated community for going Galt. It is an interesting book. The author, senior housing developer Rod Lockwood (double phallus!), has a propensity to dress like Lord Voldermort. The typeface is also large so you can zip through the 144 pages in no time!
It is the year 2043 in the book and Joe, despite being a handsome doctor with a keen fashion sense and a deep appreciation for life’s finer things, is unmarried. He is given a tour of the island by Darin, his long-lost high school friend and Belle Isle’s master planner.
Darin is also a fastidious unmarried man in his late 40s/early 50s. In high school he helped girls pick out clothes at the mall. Aesthetic beauty is of great importance to Darin. Nothing can be built in this libertarian paradise without Darin approving the aesthetics. Darin uses the word aesthetics often.
Belle Isle has a monorail (like the ones that put Brockway, Odgenville, and North Haverbrook on the map) instead of a subway because, according to Darin, “the monorail offers the highest amount of aesthetics in the shortest amount of time.”
Also, though it wasn’t explicitly stated in “Belle Isle: Detroit’s Game Changer,” building a subway system under a 983-acre marshy island in the middle of the Detroit River is probably a bad idea. It would wreak havoc on the foundation of Belle Isle’s soon-to-be-built 57-story Four Seasons hotel. A hotel, even one with a Von Mises suite (which this one has), that sinks into the ground would not be aesthetically pleasing.
So what do these two confirmed bachelors do during Joe’s visit to this free market paradise where a every building plan must live up to the visual standards of a government bureaucrat? Oh, you know, guy stuff.
They ride the monorail and take in the aesthetics, enjoy veggie sandwiches after visiting Belle Isle’s courthouse, appreciate the architecture in the island’s “school and church” zone, people watch at a farmer’s market where Joe spots a red-headed woman he assumed to be an “Irish lass,” and of course have a dinner party at Darin’s stylish home.
“The condo had a clean modern feel with touches of natural materials. Italian grey stone pavers at the entry transitioned into a light oak floor of the Great Room. The ceiling was also the same light oak. Opposite the entry was a large fireplace with a chimney that reached to the 10′ ceiling. Both the fireplace and chimney matched the stone pavers of the entry. On the walls were paintings and pictures Darin had acquired in Asia. Individual light fixtures resembling inverted snow cones hung from a serpentine chrome track lighting base.”
The other three dinner guests are all men. After dinner, they drink port and smoke big cigars on the balcony.
While we would’ve preferred it if Joe and Darin actually humped at some point in the story because the endless passages of stilted dialogue about half-baked libertarian theory got boring, all and all, “Belle Isle: Detroit’s Game Changer” is the best homoerotic vanity press propaganda novel written by a senior housing developer yr Wonket has ever read.
We would recommend it to our friends. (Deadline Detroit)