Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Paranormal Day!

Oliver, our youngest fan,
 with his Pete the Cat doll.
Both are too cool for this blog.
According to the nifty internet holiday calendar that Gianna emailed to me, today is auspicious.  Sure, there's National Day of Prayer; that's fine.  Also, today is National Two Different Colored Shoes Day, but I don't think I could post an entire piece about Pete the Cat.  I like Pete, but let's be honest...he's a bit juvenile.  Therefore we're going with Paranormal Day, and I'll spare you the wisecracks about the irony of the paranormal  and the praying on the same day.

Gods Without Men.  The latest book from super-talented Hari Kunzru is a revelation, a declaration of great literary promise arriving on the scene full force.  Fans of David Mitchell or Adam Johnson's acclaimed The Orphan Master's Son (which I declared the best book of the year back in January because I'm ballsy like that) must read Gods Without Men as well.

Hari Kunzru
Kunzru, like David Mitchell with Cloud Atlas, manages to blend several stories into a single, powerful narrative of time and place.  Gods Without Men follows the story of a family in crisis, a mother and father at odds with each other, a relationship strained by the birth and years of raising a severely autistic son.  Desperate, they head West on vacation and hope that the change of scenery will provide respite.  While walking through Joshua Tree National Park, the couple suddenly realizes their son is no longer by their sides.  Call the National Guard.  Add to this the Native American coyote legends with a decidedly modern--coyote makes meth--twist.  Ooh, and then there's a 60's hippie cult preparing for the aliens.  (See? I am loosely connecting this stuff to Paranormal Day.)  Leaving San Francisco to live life more fully, a young woman joins the group heading for Joshua Tree to prepare for the UFOs.  All of the stories, and a sense of the freedom and wildness of the American West, mesh into a compelling narrative.  And Hari Kunzru has serious literary chops.  The guy can write.

I think Gianna might be an alien.  She freaks me out.

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