ROUTES by John Okas


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 In an offbeat first novel, Okas sets out on a playful allegorical romp through American history--and the history of ideas--from reconstruction through the birth of jazz. Readers are invited to go back in time and ``discover what your face looked like before your mother met your father.'' The narrative is told with lyrical abandon through the omniscient eyes of ``Art in Heaven''--no less than the dead King Arthur. The ``routes'' are actually the ancestral roots of the character Gloria Beatrice, the illegitimate offspring of free- thinker Sarah and Corn Dog. Sarah, aka the ``Peach of Zion'' (her hometown), is the daughter of a fundamentalist minister, and artist/weaver Corn Dog is the adopted son of a sorcerer. (His biological parents are Cactus Flower and Justus Priest, the latter the spawn of Mary Eaton, queen of Delta plantation, and her freed slave Jimmy Ebert). This novel, with its mixed breeds and fable- like quality, turns American myth and folklore on its head as its fairy-tale characters chase after life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness--well, at least sex, if not always love--in a world that almost bears some resemblance to reality. Though one can get lost at times in the storylines (the characters sometimes do, too), it's almost always fun to go along for the ride. Okas promises a sequel.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-877946-43-5
Page count: 232pp
Publisher: Permanent Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1994