Big Machine

By Victor Lavalle
(Spiegel & Grau, Paperback, 9780385527996, 384pp.)

Publication Date: March 9, 2010

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Paperback

Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.

Go


Description

Ricky Rice is a middling hustler with a lingering junk habit, a bum knee, and a haunted mind. A survivor of a suicide cult, he scrapes by as a porter at a bus depot in Utica, New York, until one day a mysterious letter arrives, summoning him to enlist in a band of paranormal investigators comprised of former addicts and petty criminals, all of whom had at some point in their wasted lives heard what may have been the voice of God.

Infused with the wonder of a disquieting dream and laced with Victor LaValle’s fiendish comic sensibility, Big Machine is a mind-rattling mystery about doubt, faith, and the monsters we carry within us.




About the Author

Victor LaValle is the author of the short-story collection Slapboxing with Jesus and the novel The Ecstatic, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award.




NPR
Monday, May 31, 2010

Susan Stamberg gathers recommendations from booksellers Rona Brinlee, Lucia Silva and Daniel Goldin. Their selections for summertime reading include books about small-town America, a polygamist father in over his head, and a postmistress in New England during World War II. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.

NPR
Saturday, Oct 3, 2009

These are the opening elements of Victor Lavalle's new novel, Big Machine. The protagonist has a problem, but what's a man got to worry about if he's mopping floors for Trailways in Utica, New York? Guest host Jacki Lyden talks to LaValle, who some say writes like Thomas Pynchon, others like Ralph Ellison. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.




Reviews from AltWeeklies.com
From San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco, California

Far from a standard dry examination of doubt and faith, Lavalle's allegorical approach is sweeping and swashbuckling. Big Machine takes us from Ricky's idyllic childhood -- sweet as saccharine, with a black tar of burn -- to his romantic nadir, dying in a puddle of piss and shit in the basement of a house owned by a man named Murder.




Praise For Big Machine

“Fractures all of our notions of how well-made fiction ought to behave. . .idea-hungry and haywire, too alive and abrasive to be missed.  The multicultural novel has come of age — smashingly.” — Kirkus (starred)

“LaValle is as much wry fabulist as he is dogged allegorist, and his flights of grim fancy are tethered by acute observations. He can be awfully funny, too. [His]devilish fable renders the visible world–of science, social hierarchies, and New York Times headlines–a load of cultish hooey.”
--Bookforum

“Beautiful.” — Vanity Fair


“If Hieronymus Bosch and Lenny Bruce got knocked up by a woman with a large and compassionate heart, they might have brought forth Big Machine. But it is Victor LaValle's peculiar, poetic, rough and funny voice that brings it to us, alive and kicking and irresistible.”—Amy Bloom, author of the New York Times bestseller Away

Big Machine is like nothing I’ve ever read, incredibly human and alien at the same time. LaValle writes like Gabriel Garcia Marquez mixed with Edgar Allen Poe, but this is even more than that. He’s written the first great book of the next America.”—Mos Def

“If the literary Gods mixed together Haruki Murakami and Ralph Ellison, and threw in several fistfuls of 21st century attitude, the result would be Victor LaValle.  Big Machine is a wonderful, original, and crazy novel.” —Anthony Doerr, author of The Shell Collector and About Grace


“Victor LaValle is one of the finest writers around—puzzling but never abstruse, compassionate but never pitying. With The Ecstatic, he produced one of my favorite novels of the decade, and now, with Big Machine, he has produced another: a pristine window into a flawed human soul, but also a daring fantasy through which America and all its troubles come sliding gradually into focus.” —Kevin Brockmeier, author of A Brief History of the Dead

“Sure to up his critical standing while furthering comparisons to Haruki Murakami, John Kennedy Toole and Edgar Allan Poe. Ricky’s intoxicating voice—robust, organic, wily—is perfect for narrating LaValle’s high-stakes mashup of thrilling paranormal and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, as the fateful porter—something of a modern Odysseus rallied by a team of ‘spiritual X-men’—wanders through America’s ‘messianic hoo-hah.’”—Publishers Weekly, starred

Indie Bookstore Finder











Update Profile