In this comedic novel, a man vainly tries to get people’s attention.
Hollywood actor Tad Mortriciano receives too much devotion: from his fans, from his dog, and from his overbearing mother. But that all starts to change once the odd, shuttlecock-shaped birthmark on his shoulder begins to darken. Suddenly he can’t get anyone to give him the time of day. He gets rejected for movie roles; fans start to snub him; and his relationships fall apart. People seem unable to grasp what he’s saying or to focus on him at all. His new anonymity is so strong he’s able to resolve a police standoff by simply walking in and freeing the hostages. It gets to the point that when he is greeted by a woman in the library sporting pigtails, dental headgear, and a boom box, Tad just assumes that she’s speaking to someone else. It turns out Angela is in the exact same position as Tad: they are both “Low-Impactors. Folks who others have a hard time paying attention to.” She even has the same shuttlecock-shaped birthmark that appears to be the key to their peculiar situation. One theory is that they’re demons. Another, that they’re aliens. All Angela knows is that they’re being pursued by the Monitors: the only people who can see Low-Impactors and, for some reason, mean to harm them. Angela is helping to organize Low-Impactors who seek to protect themselves in an existential struggle that they are only just beginning to understand. In this first installment of a series, Harris (Tall Grass, 2008, etc.) writes in a sharp, playful prose that fills out this absurd world with color and humor. “It’s obvious,” goes one ally’s alien theory. “You both have red hair, you’re of similar ages, both put up for adoption about the same time, you both have the lunar orbiter birthmark.” The author leans into the strangeness of the premise, delving into an adventure that is simultaneously cartoonish and compelling. The characters are big and fun; the stakes are high but tongue-in-cheek; and the reading experience is escapism of the best variety.
A delightful, amusing fantasy about folks whom everyone ignores.