What could a UFO hippie cult, a British rock star, a Spanish Franciscan priest, the son of a Sikh, and his autistic son have in common? The Mojave Desert, for one thing. A search for meaning that connects the earthbound physical plane with the spiritual, for another. In his fourth novel, Hari Kunzru confronts head-on the quandaries of modern life while walking a fine line between irony and authentic emotion, between seriousness and lightheartedness, without missing a step.
He opens with a piece of flash fiction involving Coyote, Trickster of the World, attempting to make crystal meth. With a little help from his friends Cottontail Rabbit, Gila Monster and Southern Fox, Coyote succeeds. Just as the author succeeds in purveying a recipe for meth right there in his novel. Dangerous!
Jumping frenetically around in time with incidents from 1947 to 2008 to 1778 to 1958...
Beyond the Book
The Mojave Desert is located primarily in Southern California but extends into parts of Utah, Nevada and Arizona. It encompasses Death Valley, Joshua Tree National Park as well as communities such as Barstow and 29 Palms. Interstates 14 and 40 penetrate into and cross the desert.
Nearly 12,000 years ago, once the Pleistocene glaciers receded, Paleo Indians occupied what we now call the Mojave Desert. According to the US National Park Service, "The Chemehuevi lived on prickly pear, mesquite and roasted agave blooms and hunted deer and bighorn sheep." As the region became more arid, various native...