Beauman's inspired second novel introduces us to peripatetic, ever-horny Egon Loeser, a Berlin set designer of the early 1930s who leaves his city on account of someone named Hitler—not Adolph, but Adele (no relation), a young beauty impervious to Egon's charms. He follows her to Paris, then L.A., as his social set flees the encroaching horrors of National Socialism at home. Egon finds his love at CalTech, working for a physicist who might have discovered the secret of teleportation, a coincidence, because back in Berlin, Egon was working on his own, stagecraft version, based on an elaborate mechanical device from 1679. There are others who covet the physicist's secret, including a crime novelist's cuckolding wife and a cracked Pasadena millionaire who has made his fortune in car polish, and Egon becomes enmeshed in a conspiracy involving an NKVD spy, a serial killer, and the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. Beauman (Boxer, Beetle) has an unflagging imagination and an indefatigable gift for comedy. His overstuffed (in a good way) novel comprises memorable comic dialogue and hilarious set pieces. While Egon may not be the most admirable of protagonists, in Beauman's hands his voyage of self-discovery illuminates a pivotal moment in 20th-century history. Agent: David Forrer, Inkwell Management. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/05/2012 Release date: 02/26/2013 Genre: Fiction
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