Big Machine

Big Machine

A Novel

Book - 2009
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A fiendishly imaginative comic novel about doubt, faith, and the monsters we carry within us. Ricky Rice was as good as invisible: a middling hustler, recovering dope fiend, and traumatized suicide cult survivor running out the string of his life as a porter at a bus depot in Utica, New York. Until one day a letter appears, summoning him to the frozen woods of Vermont. There, Ricky is inducted into a band of paranormal investigators comprised of former addicts and petty criminals, all of whom had at some point in their wasted lives heard The Voice: a mysterious murmur on the wind, a disembodied shout, or a whisper in an empty room that may or may not be from God. Evoking the disorienting wonder of writers like Haruki Murakami and Kevin Brockmeier, but driven by Victor LaValle's perfectly pitched comic sensibility BIG MACHINE is a mind-rattling literary adventure about sex, race, and the eternal struggle between faith and doubt.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780385527989
0385527985
Characteristics: 370 p. ; 25 cm.

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m
Mooseum
Sep 12, 2018

Victor LaValle has a knack for starting off a story in a "normal" way and gradually take it into the fantastic. It is never a linear thing, this happens and then that happens, there is a back-and-forth in time and place, characters appearing then disappearing and then reappearing later. It is convoluted yet makes total sense.

What I didn't understand is why towards the end he changed parts of Oakland to be a place called Garland. The streets are Oakland streets, near where I grew up, making them extra familiar. The best was that one of the locations was Port View Park, an old favorite of mine from the 1970s, and the site of many picnics. A peculiar nostalgia happens when you know a location that is used in fiction.

e
elloyd74
Jan 07, 2011

Strange, singular, and suspenseful as all get-out, "Big Machine" redefines the idea of a literary pageturner.

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SPL_STARR Jun 15, 2015

"Don't look for dignity in public bathrooms."

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