A Tall Tale Too True
By Kris Saknussemm
(Del Rey, Paperback, 9780812974171, 368pp.)
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
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Enigmatic Pilot is Kris Saknussemm’s outrageously brilliant yet profoundly moving exploration and excavation of the American dream—and nightmare.
In 1844, in a still-young America, the first intimations of civil war are stirring throughout the land. In Zanesville, Ohio, the Sitturd family—Hephaestus, a clubfooted inventor; his wife, Rapture, a Creole from the Sea Islands; and their prodigiously gifted six-year-old son, Lloyd, whose libido is as precocious as his intellect—are forced to flee the only home they have ever known for an uncertain future in Texas, whence Hephaestus’s half-brother, Micah, has sent them a mysterious invitation, promising riches and wonders too amazing to be entrusted to paper.
Thus begins one of the most incredible American journeys since Huck Finn and Jim first pushed their raft into the Mississippi. Along the way, Lloyd will learn the intricacies of poker and murder, solve the problem of manned flight, find—and lose—true love, and become swept up in an ancient struggle between two secret societies whose arcane dispute has shaped the world’s past and threatens to reshape its future. Each side wants to use Lloyd against the other, but Lloyd has his own ideas—and access to an occult technology as powerful as his imagination.
Praise for Enigmatic Pilot:
The language is superb, the subject deliciously original and the story like nothing else I've read. This book is hilariously funny and grim at the same time. I feel privileged to read it. There's a new star up there. Kris Saknussemm is a brilliant writer. Enigmatic Pilot could have been written by a stripped down Pynchon. It's not just tasty -- it's delicious.
"Enigmatic Pilot is a rip-roaring trip through a fantastic mid-19th century America...written in the spirit of Mark Twain's novelistic journeys."
-The Wall Street Journal
Kris Saknussemm's Enigmatic Pilot, with its shades of Twain and Melville's Confidence Man, its own unique style and vision, sense of humor and remarkable characters, is a balls out adventure story, a fascinating "historical" account of the Civil War era, a love story, and a mirror within which a reader might glimpse the current state of the union.
A tapestry of wonders, a new American myth.
Praise for Kris Saknussemm’s Zanesville
“Part picaresque, part brilliantly inventive black comedy, Zanesville is one of the most creative, edgy, and entertaining novels sf has spawned in a decade.”—Booklist (starred review)
“A savage, fiercely intelligent satire.”—January magazine