Lojac’s picaresque debut novel offers the psychedelic adventures of an Everyman on a quest for enlightenment.
At one point in this dreamy, disjointed acid trip of a novel, the protagonist, Genetic Freeman, experiences a brief glimpse of an afterlife that’s standing room only: “I see Gods, demigods, devils, demons, gurus, swamis and saints,” he reports. “Nostradamus, Swedenborg, Ramakrishna, Rajneesh, Bhaktivedanta, the goddess Ishtar, and the great Shawnee Prophet....Madame Blavatsky, the Beast 666, Anton LaVey, Mary Baker Eddy, Joseph Smith, Cagliostro, Meher Baba, Sai Baba, and the Maharishi.” The open-ended, all-inclusive nature of this list (Mary Baker Eddy?) is a good indication of the high-spirited, rambling tale Lojac tells here of young Genetic’s spiritual coming-of-age. He begins his journey in 1969 as a fairly typical hippie living near New York City’s Washington Square, listening to sitar music and reading things like the Tibetan Book of the Dead and William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. As the story opens on his birthday, he meets a young woman named Allison, and they decide (before having pleased-to-meet-you sex) to travel to California and seek out the cool cats in Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park. Allison moves up in the ranks of a quasi-cult called Psytron Theological Technology, while Genetic has a series of adventures that are very loosely strung together and may make more coherent sense to their author than they will to readers (as is often the case in this type of psychedelic bildungsroman). Genetic is admonished to “Figure out what you want,” but also told that “Your vision gets in the way of your vision”; his extra-dimensional encounters with beings like the Lizard Lady, who oversees “the industrial-size, between-lives processing facility,” are interspersed with the progress of his life as he grows older and takes a job teaching English in Japan. The book would have benefited from a thorough edit to eliminate distracting typos (“it’s” instead of “its”; “Holly” instead of “Holy”). However, its narrative gusto and preponderance of zippy dialogue (and frank sex) compensates, and will remind readers of a certain age of the culture clashes of their youth.
A free-wheeling, fast-paced hippie fantasy of one young man’s search for meaning in life.