David Albahari's "Leeches" is clearly not a book for everyone. If existentialism were studied while dropping acid and then talked out in the next few mornings in a haze of a hangover, you might end up with the same result, especially if hopped up on a couple pots of coffee laced with hash.
Albahari's Serbian hero pulls on a piece of literary yarn in a carefully knit sweater and unwinds a long, babbling thread that seemingly has no end, no paragraph breaks and minimal punctuation. Those without patience will find the book tedious but perseverance pays off for those willing to sacrifice their better judgment and stay in the game.
Various themes are covered during the tale; violence, paranoia, the Kabbalah, conspiracy theories, antisemitism, mathematics, symbolism, ethnic cleansing and, eventually, murder. And all are viewed through the heavy smoke of marijuana which is ever-present between our hero and his friend who he visits often in order to tell his day's events.
The writing is solid, even if it's mostly stream-of-conscious meandering. Some key phrases are over-used (I looked left, I looked right, etc.) but after a while they nearly become the hallmark - and could have deeper meaning.
Or am I being paranoid? Perhaps I'll ask an old Jewish man for advice.