Book Review:

"Advanced Elvis Course"

Advanced Elvis Course by CA Conrad.......Now available.......

Soft Skull Press, USA, Trade Paper Original, US$12.95; ISBN-13: 978-1593762438

'Elvis ruled an ancient culture still undiscovered by National Geographic'

The pilgrimage to Elvis world mecca, aka Graceland, is a wonderfully joyous journey.  And when the person making that journey is author CA Conrad, the pilgrimage becomes a deliciously fragmented, colourful and psychedelic infused experience.  Along the way, the author explores the back waters of Memphis and in the process exposes the cultural maxima and minutae which inhabit the surreal world of Elvisdom.

Advanced Elvis Course is one of those strangely different Elvis books, but strange in the interesting sense.  Conrad’s witty and offbeat observations of Elvis Americana are reflective, expansive and always enlightening. At times 'close' and at times, 'remote', Conrad, appropriately, alternates between almost indifference to respectful acknowledgment of his subject matter.

To some, a number of the disparate passages in Advanced Elvis Course will appear unusually irreverent and twisted; to others they will be like a refreshingly warm breeze on an otherwise cold day (or a refreshing cold beer on a searing hot day) – such is the apparently confused, but in reality, deliciously insightful, nature of the jaggedly poignant prose. Behold the symbiosis of....Elvis as t-shirt, Elvis as messiah....and damn those unthinking charlatans who should know better:

Some people have no respect for Elvis.

They need to write a letter,

Elvis is standing next to them,

They scribble on the back of His beautiful

Sacred hand just to see

If there’s ink in the pen.

How dare they!

The passage titles in Advanced Elvis Course reflect the uniqueness of the author’s perceptive composition.  From ‘The Night I Was A Lesbian Soundtrack’ to ‘Priscilla Presley’s Memoir: Elvis and Me as Divination’ and ‘Elvis and the Illusion of Hemisphere’, there is a fascinating obscurity and playful spirit contained within the 138 pages of CA Conrad’s Elvis kaleidoscopic trek. 

Sprinkled with flower petals, the strong aroma of freshly brewed coffee and a paranoia encased in lost hieroglyphs, what each day brings to our intrepid traveller is always a revelation:

Fingers of Elvis!

You wake thinking of the Mother Elvis tit in your mouth!

Let us praise tit!

Let us praise the tit!

And for those readers who sympathise with the Elvis-religion abstract, the following exchange highlights the neo-esoteric nature of the author’s unusual and invigorating consideration of things Elvis:

CA Conrad: Excuse me? Where do you keep your Elvis books?

Clerk: Well, um, we don’t have an Elvis section.  I mean…you might want to check the biography section.

CA Conrad: You mean he’s not in Spirituality?

Clerk: Ah, well.  Um…should he be?

Verdict: CA Conrad has whipped up a potent mix of eclectic musings and painted a multi-layered, simple yet complex, Elvis canvas. His account of that greatest of great pilgrimages for Elvis fans has to be thoughtfully savoured in order to enjoy the rich texture and emotional potency of its incredible journey. If at first it seems strange….....persevere!  Your patience in the search for Elvis enlightenment will be ultimately and handsomely rewarded.

Visit the CA Conrad blogspot at:


...........What others have said about CA Conrad’s writing.............

“This is delicious stuff.  Conrad is so bright eyed and bushy tailed.  His words are impeccably poised and razor-sharp.  They come from that oldtime place called the heart.” Jonathan Williams, author of Jubilant Thicket

“Conrad has an open, Whitmanic optimism and sunniness and he’s a sucker for kitsch, again like Whitman, but he’s got a sense of humor about it, and all those who cross his path will find themselves laughing their way right through the lower chakras and beyond.” Kevin Killian, author of Argento Series


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