Deb Olin Unferth, Author . McSweeney's $22 (215p) ISBN 978-1-934781-09-8

In this enthralling headscratcher of a first novel, Unferth (the story collection Minor Robberies ) weaves an intricate tale of quests and escapes, of leaving and following. As a child, Myers falls out of a window, shattering his skull and unknowingly living the rest of his life with a misshapen head. Years later, he follows his wife, who spends her evenings following a man she doesn't know. The man, whom Myers identifies as a former classmate of his named Gray, is unaware that he is being doubly tracked. The marriages of both men fall apart, and Myers finds himself on “vacation,” traveling in search of Gray while Gray's ex-wife and daughter look for him, too. The problem is that “Gray does not know where Gray is.” If this all sounds puzzling, it is; still, with grace and skill, Unferth manages to weave together the most far-fetched of events. A subplot involving a dolphin “untrainer” and a woman in search of her birth father is distracting, and Unferth's wordplay can verge on the excessive, but a poignancy emerges in spite of Unferth's post-modern indulgences. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/28/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!