The Lamentations of Julius Marantz

Marc Estrin, Author
Marc Estrin, Author . Unbridled $14.95 (246p) ISBN 978-1-932961-38-6
Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-936071-97-5
Ebook - 255 pages - 978-1-936071-96-8
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Clubfooted, 60-something Cal Tech grad Julius Marantz is pursued by both the “Central Intelligence Corporation” and a corporate coalition known as “GEKO” in this Kafkaesque near-future mashup from Estrin (Insect Dreams: The Half-Life of Gregor Samsa ). Julius's crimes include having perfected a mechanism known as “the Doodad,” which, among other things, polarizes the water molecules in living beings and is used to create rapture-like experiences among the multitudes of India. Julius cedes operating rights to the Doodad early on, and 200 pages of his kvetching reflections on his early life ensue. “Born to wear a pocket protector” and inspired by the exoticisms of Coney Island, Julius makes kid-genius forays into relativity; displays his mother's pickled appendix; and has his dog Yenta “bark mitzvahed.” His parents' fatal air accident leaves him with a sense of irretrievability that inspires research in magnetic fields at Copenhagen's Niels Bohr Institute and Cal Tech. With the Doodad in corporate hands, the world stands on the brink, threatened by way of product testing. Estrin's fantastical conceit conceals a very conventional story at its core, and neither one gets sufficient treatment. Scattered throughout this fourth novel are amusements, moving laments and inventive imaginings, but the narrative flow remains polarized. (Nov.)

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