THE BEND OF THE WORLD by Jacob Bacharach


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Things fall apart when a slacker slouches his way through the vagaries of work and the phosphorescence of the Pittsburgh arts scene.

Debut novelist Bacharach would probably like to remind readers of early Michael Chabon, but the only real pleasure in this shuffling zombie of a novel comes from his arch observations on the local art world. As with many postmodern novels for lads, the author simply can’t decide what story he wants to tell. His narrator is almost-30-year-old Peter Morrison, a worker bee who's "manager of customer analytics and spend processes" at a company called Global Solutions, so much of the book is a workplace comedy. “No, I am serious: the office only crushes your soul if you’re dumb enough to bring it to work,” Peter tells the reader. In the evenings, he divides his time between his relationship with wispy Lauren Sara, to whom he’s barely attracted, and drugging his way through the scene with his fey, gay best pal Johnny, a barely functioning addict who spends easily half the book espousing outlandish conspiracy theories about the city. “So basically the Point represents a node or a nexus of intense magical convergence, an axis mundi, if you will, wherein vast telluric currents and pranic energies roil just beyond the liminal boundaries between the phenomenal and the numinous branes of existence, and obviously this whole UFO what-have-you is a manifestation of that, not some fucking ball lightning or whatever,” Johnny says during just one very representative rant. Yes, on the metaphysical side of the plot we have UFO sightings and a creature that might be Bigfoot and a rabbi who leads a cult and a science-fiction author making dangerous predictions, layering yet another level of weird on a story that’s overstuffed as it is. Sprinkle on a famous artist, a powerful lawyer and his hypnotizing wife, and the book pitches itself right over the brink.

A mischievous but fuzzy misadventure for modern 20-somethings.

Pub Date: April 14th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-87140-682-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Liveright/Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2014


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