First Contact

Evan J. Mandery, Author
Evan J. Mandery, Author . Harper $13.99 (267p) ISBN 978-0-06-174977-3
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An alien invasion turns the United States, if not the world, upside down in this smart, witty romp—but not in the ways that extraterrestrial enthusiasts might expect. Ralph Bailey is working as a sandwich-fetching attaché to an inept president who assigns him to act as a liaison to the recently arrived aliens. As one of the few White House employees who seems to understand the Woody Allen–obsessed, generally laid-back visitors, Ralph begins to interrogate his existential angst: “I think everything has happened before,” he says to his girlfriend, Jessica Love (it's that kind of book), “...every grief has been endured, every idea has been explored, every joke has been told.” And in Mandery's world, it's certainly the truth. As we meet the intergalactic characters, we find that jokes, situations, prejudices, and even pets are the same no matter where you go. While coincidences add up and characters lives bleed into one another, Mandery's sharp sense of humor and habit of addressing the reader make for a stimulating and intelligent read that's never short on laughs. (Feb.)

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