Dante’s Indiana

Randy Boyagoda. Biblioasis, $16.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-77196-427-2
Boyagoda’s playful if smug second installment of a planned trilogy (after Original Prin) follows a hapless middle-aged Canadian academic through an outlandish career change. Prin loses his job at 41 when his college shuts down. With their house undergoing renovation, his American wife and kids have departed for Indiana, where he joins them and finds work helping to design a theme park modeled after Dante’s Divine Comedy, and attempts to win his wife back from the Mormon ex-boyfriend who is making moves on her. The theme park project, always precarious, runs into trouble when a boy named Garyon is killed by police in Chicago, and anti-racist protestors surround the park on the assumption that the name’s similarity to Geryon, the beast whose name they’ve given to the primary roller coaster in the Inferno section of the park, is somehow related. The thin plot gives Boyagoda a chance to indulge to the point of overload in crafting whimsical names and descriptions of theme park rides, and to paint a scathing portrait of an “inland America” populated by child abusers, opioid users, and clueless fundamentalist Christians who are trying to invent chastity pills. The satire may resonate with sympathetic readers, but the underdeveloped characters won’t. In the end, this is fluff with very little substance. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/30/2021
Release date: 09/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-77196-428-9
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