BookBrowse Reviews Big Machine by Victor LaValle

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Big Machine

A Novel

by Victor LaValle

Big Machine
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2009, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2010, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Marnie Colton

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

A fiendishly imaginative comic novel about doubt, faith, and the monsters we carry within us

In 1966, singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen published his influential underground novel Beautiful Losers. About ten years later, Bob Seger recorded an album and song of the same title, minus the "s" at the end. Although I’ve never read Cohen’s book and never particularly cared for Seger’s music, I found that phrase running through my head as I read Big Machine, a novel that plunks down a group of ex-cons and drug addicts (or "Unlikely Scholars," as they are known in their new realm) at an occultist institution called the Washburn Library in a remote part of Vermont. Each Scholar has been mysteriously summoned by a note that claims to have knowledge of his or her deepest secret, and each note includes a one-way bus ticket to Burlington. For Ricky Rice, a janitor trying to quietly scrape by and stay off heroin, this odd missive comes as the ultimate second chance in a lifetime...

Victor LaValle was born February 3, 1972 and raised in the Flushing and Rosedale neighborhoods of Queens, New York. He has a degree in English from Cornell University, and received his M.F.A. in Fiction from Columbia University. He has been the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College in Oakland, California and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Columbia University. Victor is the author of the short-story collection Slapboxing with Jesus and the novel The Ecstatic, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award.
Photo credit: E. Raboteau

Members Only

BookBrowse's reviews and "beyond the book" articles are part of the many benefits of membership and, thus, are generally only available to subscribers, including individual members and patrons of libraries that subscribe.

Join Today


Member Login


Library Patrons

One Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Underground Airlines
    by Ben Winters

    "The Invisible Man meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller." - PW Star

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Spinster
by Kate Bolick

A bold, original, moving book that will inspire fanatical devotion and ignite debate.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.