A witty, fast-paced novel about a hack journalist and an unbelievable headline come to life.
Matthew Granger, a once-promising journalist living in the shadow of an illustrious father, travels around the rural news beats for the Fortean publication World News Explorer, looking for scoops on bat boys, Hitler’s heads and even the faintest insinuation of a UFO. Taylor renders the psychology of the younger Granger in an authentic, competent indirect discourse; Granger’s thoughts, observations and anxieties are at once charming and exasperating as his witty, keen consciousness charms readers to his side. Armed and cursed with a photographic memory, Granger is made an all-too keen observer of the most significant and trivial details of his stream of consciousness, but it’s this special ability that allows him to pierce the veil while rummaging through the gossip and local folklore of another backwater town with a tall tale to tell. Peppered throughout the opening passages of the novel are unsettling interludes of Granger’s experience in a room, vacillating between sensations of piercing light and darkness, until eventually it is revealed that these disjointed episodes are the calling cards of a personal abduction that he had previously treated as mere copy fodder. The novel remains true to its title and without breaking the carefully plotted suspension of disbelief, Granger uncovers the reality behind the panoply of abduction mythology without resorting to extraterrestrial vistas or campy cosmic journeys. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t wonderful elements of fantasy; his relationship with the creature Little One and Granger’s attempt to develop fluent telepathic communication are rendered with humor and insight as he finds Little One’s lack of extraverbal communication frustrating and intriguing. Taylor writes carefully and craftily in a story that pays homage to the absurdity and pathos at the heart of a culture that wishes crop circles were more than just pranks on a grand, if not cosmic, scale.
A romp through mystery, science fiction and popular culture that will please readers looking for a smarter breed of fantasy.