The Lamentations of Julius Marantz (Paperback)
Unbridled Books, 9781932961386, 246pp.
Publication Date: November 1, 2007
Praise For The Lamentations of Julius Marantz…
This latest from Estrin (Insect Dreams) is another hyper-intelligent satire, this time focusing on the Rapture and, perhaps more interestingly, Estrin's strange take on its possible results. Physicist Julius Marantz has created a device called a "Doodad," which produces a magnetic force that can suck people from Earth and into its atmosphere. Several government agencies want the Doodad for diabolical reasons, and Julius finds himself on the run when he rejects their plans. The book then dashes into a hodgepodge of unlikely circumstances involving cogitations on physics, religion, humanity's boundless frailties, and nostalgia for Coney Island. The only other character of note is Lydia, an old flame whom Julius hasn't seen in 30 years but with whom he still feels he has a cosmic connection. Many readers will need to take a second look at this book to feel that they have any kind of real grasp of what's going on, but it's likely Estrin is the only one who truly does. Recommended for large fiction collections. Library Journal
Clubfooted, 60-something Cal Tech grad Julius Marantz is pursued by both the Central Intelligence Corporation” and a corporate coalition known as GEKO” in this Kafkaesque near-future mashup from Estrin (Insect Dreams: The Half-Life of Gregor Samsa). Julius's crimes include having perfected a mechanism known as the Doodad,” which, among other things, polarizes the water molecules in living beings and is used to create rapture-like experiences among the multitudes of India. Julius cedes operating rights to the Doodad early on, and 200 pages of his kvetching reflections on his early life ensue. Born to wear a pocket protector” and inspired by the exoticisms of Coney Island, Julius makes kid-genius forays into relativity; displays his mother's pickled appendix; and has his dog Yenta bark mitzvahed.” His parents' fatal air accident leaves him with a sense of irretrievability that inspires research in magnetic fields at Copenhagen's Niels Bohr Institute and Cal Tech. With the Doodad in corporate hands, the world stands on the brink, threatened by way of product testing. Estrin's fantastical conceit conceals a very conventional story at its core, and neither one gets sufficient treatment. Scattered throughout this fourth novel are amusements, moving laments and inventive imaginings, but the narrative flow remains polarized. (Nov.) Publisher’s Weekly