At the dawn of the Trumpocalypse, a young couple embarks on a divine cross-country mission.
Eva and Murphy, who live in Miami and subsist on the gig economy, receive orders from Yahweh to hit the road and let America know who is Lord. Eva is chosen as the prophet just as she and Murphy are pondering whether to have a baby. After a stop at Eva’s ancestral fixer-upper, where her Uncle Orson imparts folksy wisdom and racing tips, they pick up a pet, “Fluffy 2,” who is either a cat, a dog, or a small goat, no one is sure which. A homeless woman inspires them with a brilliant scheme to develop “Mount Trashmore” resorts (since landfill mounds will, in much of the country, become shorefront property after sea levels rise). The postmodern picaresque continues as Eva evangelizes at lectures, billionaire retreats, and other venues representing the venality of American mores and the kitschiness of its culture. Her negotiated fee from Yahweh is $100 million to fund operation Mount Trashmore. The only hitch is that she and Murphy must also build a temple to the exact specifications of Solomon’s. As the couple and their ambiguous pet journey on, Thier avails himself of all opportunities to preach his own gospel of What Went Wrong through history, citing myriad not-so-fun facts such as that "there were strict gun control laws in the Wild West” and that one of the reasons Haiti is perennially impoverished is that after the island’s slaves freed themselves they owed reparations to their former slave owners that they never paid. As Eva proclaims the Lord, it is Murphy who launches jeremiads against the circumstances that made America not so great. “How can we accept that the world is the way it is?” is the novel’s overriding inquiry. Thier’s prodigious facility with language and penchant for stinging irony are evident. However, even metafiction has one basic requirement—to evoke pity and fear for the human predicament—and this is where the “narrow bridge” collapses.
Successful as neobiblical allegory; as a novel, not so much.