By Andrei Codrescu
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Hardcover, 9781565123724, 288pp.)
Publication Date: January 2004
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Picture Wakefield: He's divorced, lives alone in a comfortable, book-filled apartment in a sophisticated city. A motivational speaker, his talks leave audiences dispirited and anxious. But for this peculiar talent, he's nicely paid by corporate America, and he's in demand. Then one day the Devil shows up, walks right into Wakefield's tasteful living room, and says, "Time's up."
Just as literary Fausts have done for centuries, Wakefield makes a bargain with Satan, who as it turns out, is having his own existential crisis due to bureaucratic headaches and younger upstart demons in the afterworld. The Devil gives Wakefield a year to find an authentic life--or else it's curtains. So Wakefield travels across the country meeting New Age gurus, billionaire techno-geeks, global pioneers, gambling addicts and models who look like heroin addicts, venture capitalists, art collectors, rainforest protectors, and S and M strippers.
Andrei Codrescu brings his unique vision to the American character: our desire to change, renovate, and improve both our inner and outer worlds; to remodel not only our buildings but our bodies and minds.
"Wakefield" is an inspired novel--part metaphysical mystery, part travel adventure, part architectural romp--by turns funny and deadly serious.