Everyone Says That at the End of the World

Owen Egerton, Author
Owen Egerton. Counterpoint/Soft Skull, $15.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-59376-518-7
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Reading like a mash-up of Twilight Zone tropes, Egerton’s end-of-days novel introduces us to Milton and Rica, an Austin, Tex., couple expecting their first child; Hayden Brock, a godless TV star who abruptly quits Hollywood and goes in search of salvation; and Click, a peripatetic hermit crab. As they go about their lives, satellites and planes fall from the sky, the president and the first lady go missing, and panic seizes the country. Only Milton is privy to the fact that the world will end in four days. A “Non-Man” appears before him and explains that Earth is really an asylum for the mentally ill, and the cosmic keepers are about to close it down. Then, Milton receives a premonition to seek out Hayden in Marfa. Accompanied by Roy, his best friend from college, Milton and Rica head west through an increasingly frenzied landscape of Jesus clones, ghosts, and angel-like beings called Floaters. This novel from Egerton (The Book of Harold) really doesn’t get dramatic until the end of the world is truly imminent. By then, though, the author’s moving depiction of the human survival instinct transcending the apocalypse has become smothered under an increasingly unwieldy narrative. Agent: Matt Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (Apr.)
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