cover image The Perfect Golden Circle

The Perfect Golden Circle

Benjamin Myers. Melville House, $27.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-61219-958-0

In this slight, low-key outing, Myers (The Gallows Pole) chronicles the efforts of two friends who conspire to make crop circles in Southern England in 1989. The empathetic Redbone and the traumatized Calvert, whose face is scarred, aim to create something worthy of a folk myth to enrich their otherwise unfulfilling lives as they work up to “The Big One,” the Honeycomb Double Helix. After their crop circles hit the news, some folks wonder if they were made by aliens. Myers keenly observes the men’s distant yet intimate friendship and working relationship as they abort one crop circle design and risk being caught creating another. They grapple with rain, drought, and fire, and even discuss climate change. The men also risk exposure: first by a strange old woman who lost her dog, then with Earl William Lachlan Alexander Bruce Lascar of Winchem. There are some clever descriptive passages and phrases—Calvert’s cooking “does not eschew palatability for sustenance’s sake”—and some nice imagery, and though the conversations between the two protagonists are illuminating, they don’t quite add up to a satisfying narrative. In the end, the meditative quest lands as too meek. Agent: Jessica Woollard/David Higham Assoc. (May.)