cover image Ray of the Star

Ray of the Star

Laird Hunt, . . Coffee House, $14.95 (194pp) ISBN 978-1-56689-232-2

Hunt (Indiana, Indiana ) delivers a fourth novel about drifters that unfortunately never wanders into particularly interesting territory. Unable to find meaning in his life and suffering from a nasty bout of restless leg syndrome, Harry returns to Barcelona, where he once spent a few happy months. At a cafe, a stranger, Ireneo, beckons him to follow, and Harry soon realizes that Ireneo is really after one of the living statues who perform for the tourists, a sad-looking girl in an angel costume. Smitten with the girl, Harry decides to become a living statue of Don Quixote complete with golden body paint designed to attract her interest. Meanwhile, Ireneo, sidetracked by his mother’s sudden illness, searches for the angel while imagining that he is being pursued by ghosts. While lyrically written, the origin of Harry’s malaise is never made clear, and an attempt to fuse his meanderings over the city with the metaphysical explorations of his fellow lost souls is where the novel badly stumbles, leaving strands of the early plot dangling over a sour mishmash of unexplainable sadness. (Sept.)