Busy Monsters

William Giraldi, Author
William Giraldi. Norton, $23.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-393-07962-3
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-393-34293-2
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-393-08214-2
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In his riotous debut novel—up there with, say, James Wilcox's Modern Baptists—Giraldi tells the story of Charles Homar, a jilted fiancé who embarks on a hilariously ill-advised odyssey to win back his beloved. Charles is a "memoirist of mediocre fame" whose engagement to the lovely Gillian falls apart when she takes off with oceanographer Jacob Jacobi. After a short jail sentence for ineptly shooting up Jacobi's boat, Charles decides that the only way to win back Gillian is to prove his manhood to her. He sets off on a cross-country odyssey: searching for Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest with a Jewish African-American hunter; looking for UFOs with an ex-girlfriend in Seattle who claims to have been abducted by aliens; seeking advice from an astronomer in Boulder, Colo., who has his own calamitous love life to deal with; and getting fit with the aid of a New Jersey bodybuilder and two Chinese prostitutes before heading back to Boston for a final reckoning. Charles's journey—filled with offbeat characters, seen through a perfectly skewed worldview, and related in an idiosyncratic voice—might remind readers of the one taken by the equally wrong-headed Ray Midge in Charles Portis's comic masterpiece, The Dog of the South. (Aug.)
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