A boy with a muddled past embarks on a cross-country journey to uncover the mystery behind the last week of his famous grandfather’s life.
Arthur Louis Pullman the Third is the grandson of Arthur Louis Pullman, a Beat-generation writer renowned for producing a singular work of literary genius before withdrawing from the outside world and losing himself in a fog of dementia. Five years earlier, Pullman mysteriously disappeared from his son’s cabin in California only to wind up dead a week later in Ohio, his whereabouts during the intervening period unknown. Reeling from his own present-day trauma, grandson Arthur discovers a clue to his grandfather’s travels and sets off by train to follow it, hoping to learn more about his famous forebear’s life and death. Jumping from clue to clue and train to train across the country, Arthur stumbles upon extraordinary discoveries, from long-lost family members to secret societies, and, ultimately, the truth not only about his grandfather, but himself as well. He is helped along the way by an enigmatic British-Indian girl named Mara who has motives of her own and strains against being pigeonholed as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The Pullman family is white.
This fresh incarnation of the great American road trip novel is bursting with big ideas, enigmas, poetry, and flashes of humor. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14-adult)