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by Ron Currie Jr.

Pub Date: Feb. 11th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-670-02534-3
Publisher: Viking

A postmodern love story, self-consciously playful in a Vonnegut-ian way.

At the beginning of the novel, Ron, the narrator and a writer, promises us a work that will be “capital-T True,” though he’s also careful to make a distinction between Truth and Fact. The object of his affection, adoration and obsession is Emma, someone he’s known for over 20 years, since well before he escorted her to the senior prom. Now they’re in their mid-30s—he’s still besotted, and she’s coming off a divorce. Although they’ve briefly gotten back together, she now feels the need for some “distance,” so Ron hies himself to a Caribbean island, in part to write about their complex relationship in a new novel. While there, he temporarily takes up with Charlotte, a college student who finds it impossible to comprehend Ron’s continuing infatuation with Emma. On the day he breaks up with Charlotte, Emma comes down to the island, and eventually Ron confesses his relationship with Charlotte. Emma is understandably pissed, so she leaves, and Ron tries to commit suicide by driving his Jeep off a pier. And here’s where things get both crazy and interesting: While everyone thinks he’s dead, he gets a fake passport and leaves for several years to Sinai. Meanwhile, his manuscript is discovered and published—and it sells 3 million copies. When he decides to return to assume his former life, everyone is outraged—his mother, Emma and the reading public, who feel they’ve been manipulated. (Some of his readers even sue him for “mental anguish.”) But Currie’s narrative is not just about the self-conscious act of writing a novel about Emma—it’s also about the death of his father and the possibility of machines themselves becoming conscious beings in an act called a singularity.

Free-wheeling—and at times both moving and hilarious.