Against the backdrop of the troubled 1960s, this coming-of-age novel weaves together a compelling psychological drama and vivid outer-space fantasy. Danny Shapiro is an isolated teenager, living with a dying mother and a hostile father and without friends. To cope with these circumstances, Danny forges a reality of his own, which includes the sinister "Three Men in Black", mysterious lake creatures with insect-like carapaces, a beautiful young seductress and thief with whom Danny falls in love, and an alien/human love child who-if only Danny can keep her alive-will redeem the planet. Danny's fictional world blends so seamlessly with his day-to-day life that profound questions about what is real and what is not, what is possible and what is imagined begin to arise. As the hero in his alien landscape, he finds the strength to deal with his own life and to stand up to demons both real and imagined. Told with heart and intellect, Journal of a UFO Investigator will remind readers of the works of Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem.
I might have laughed if someone had told me that it was possible to write an enthralling and deeply sad meditation on adolescence and Judaism in the guise of a novel that includes futuristic spacecraft, bug-eyed aliens, and conspiracy theories, but Journal of a UFO Investigator is that book. As the lone Jewish boy at his school, Danny subsequently embarks on an interior journey where he meets a trio of likeminded co-conspirators, and our hero undergoes a remarkable transformation that not only prepares him for the challenges he faces as an earthbound teenager but also for the roles that he will eventually play as a man: lover, father, scholar, and chronicler of family history. (Reviewed by Marnie Colton).
While the science fiction talk may put off some, this heartbreaking coming-of-age story of a boy losing and finding his way in this and other worlds will resonate with many readers.
A thrilling romp through the domain of aliens and spacecraft, Halperin’s highly entertaining ... tale poses questions about the real and the imagined and suggests that fusing the two might be the only way to survive adolescence.
By the time readers have been to the moon and back, flown to Jerusalem at Danny's side and bumped into Danny's human/alien hybrid love child, they'll either be along for the ride or they won't.
Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish
What's in this book? What isn't? History, mystery-even aliens, for God's sake. The most compelling and original coming-of-age story I've read in a long time.
Joanne Greenberg, author of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
A wild ride-phantasmagoric, paranoiac, full of lust and insecurity, misplaced affection, and fear of closeness-exactly the mind of the teenage boy David Halperin is writing about.
Iain Pears, New York Times bestselling author Journal of a UFO Investigator is a remarkable book. Part science fiction, part novel of growing up, part surrealist voyage into the imagination, it is a disconcerting and satisfying experience.
West Virginia, the small American state best known for its "Wild & Wonderful" motto, ravaged coal mines, and rich Appalachian history, might seem an unlikely birthplace for UFO phenomenology; after all, most people associate aliens and flying saucers with Roswell, New Mexico's otherworldly desert landscape. Without the pioneering West Virginian pulp writer, huckster, and alien enthusiast Gray Barker, however, the seeds of the famous "Roswell Incident" might never have borne fruit. And as the 2009 documentary Shades of Gray - a warm and wistful look at Barker's life - shows, that would have been a shame for American pop culture.
A novel about a 13-year-old boy's perilous trek through schoolyard trials, his budding interest in girls and the simmering tension between his parents.
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