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Gods Without Men [Kindle Edition]

Hari Kunzru
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $6.01 (38%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

In the desert, you see, there is everything and nothing . . . It is God without men.
—Honoré de Balzac, Une passion dans le désert, 1830

Jaz and Lisa Matharu are plunged into a surreal public hell after their son, Raj, vanishes during a family vacation in the California desert. However, the Mojave is a place of strange power, and before Raj reappears inexplicably unharmed—but not unchanged—the fate of this young family will intersect with that of many others, echoing the stories of all those who have traveled before them.

Driven by the energy and cunning of Coyote, the mythic, shape-shifting trickster, Gods Without Men is full of big ideas, but centered on flesh-and-blood characters who converge at an odd, remote town in the shadow of a rock formation called the Pinnacles. Viscerally gripping and intellectually engaging, it is, above all, a heartfelt exploration of the search for pattern and meaning in a chaotic universe.
 
This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.


Editorial Reviews

Review

A beautifully written echo chamber of a novel -- David Mitchell Kunzru's engagingly wired prose and agile plotting sweep all before them New Yorker One of the most talented writers of his generation Image Kunzru's prose sashays across the page with all the fluid flamboyance of a dance The Times Pitch-perfect masterwork Publishers Weekly Kunzru just gets better and better. This fourth novel is an astonishing tour de force Kirkus The literary skills of Hari Kunzru are evident throughout this complex and disturbing novel ... beautifully constructed sentences ... A briliant crossover literary feat -- Annie Proulx Financial Times A funny, beautifully observed novel that raises big questions about how far events and people, past and present, are connected. But for all the big ideas, it is also surprisingly moving Psychologies Magazine With each novel, Hari Kunzru is proving himself a subtler and more ingenious writer ... his most ambitious work yet Scotland on Sunday Dizzying scope ... It is a testament to Kunzru's ability as a writer that Gods Without Men presents so many characters sketched so vividly New Statesman A fine writer with an enviably fertile imagination Telegraph Refreshingly uncompromising -- Fatema Ahmed Prospect

Review

A beautifully written echo chamber of a novel -- David Mitchell Kunzru's engagingly wired prose and agile plotting sweep all before them New Yorker One of the most talented writers of his generation Image Kunzru's prose sashays across the page with all the fluid flamboyance of a dance The Times Pitch-perfect masterwork Publishers Weekly Kunzru just gets better and better. This fourth novel is an astonishing tour de force Kirkus The literary skills of Hari Kunzru are evident throughout this complex and disturbing novel ... beautifully constructed sentences ... A briliant crossover literary feat -- Annie Proulx Financial Times A funny, beautifully observed novel that raises big questions about how far events and people, past and present, are connected. But for all the big ideas, it is also surprisingly moving Psychologies Magazine With each novel, Hari Kunzru is proving himself a subtler and more ingenious writer ... his most ambitious work yet Scotland on Sunday Dizzying scope ... It is a testament to Kunzru's ability as a writer that Gods Without Men presents so many characters sketched so vividly New Statesman A fine writer with an enviably fertile imagination Telegraph Refreshingly uncompromising -- Fatema Ahmed Prospect

Product Details

  • File Size: 1479 KB
  • Print Length: 482 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00F7XESLW
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005IQZ790
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,707 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
By Ripple
Format:Paperback
Quite literally at the heart of Hari Kunzru's latest novel stands not a person, but strange geographical feature in the California desert - three large rocks known as "The Pinnacles". If you've ever looked at a feature of the landscape and wonder what it has meant to those who have gone before, then you will find a similar stance here. Kunzru's episodic narrative takes in various points in time from 1775 to 2009 all of which centre around this rock structure which has had different meanings for different generations. There are echoes of the past in each new version, but no more than that.

It's hugely ambitious, and much more so that the other Kunzru novels that I have read, although it shares with his other books the playful but insightful writing style. He's a writer that has a real feel for human nature. However, for me, it doesn't quite succeed in rising to its ambition. It leaps back and forward in time frame from chapter to chapter in a manner that is disorienting and I couldn't help wondering if it would have been more effective presented as discrete short stories that shared a similar stimulus - which is effectively what it is.

Where I was most frustrated though was in the imbalance of the weight and emotional connection to the different threads. By far the dominant thread surrounds the disappearance of an autistic son of a wealthy New York couple set in 2008. The story covers both the father and mother's side and the lead up to the disappearance and the subsequent media furore. It's frighteningly realistic and disturbing with real emotional heart. The problem as far at the book is concerned is that it is such a terrifically well told story that I started to yearn to return to these events when Kunzru wants to draw the reader back to another time.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to be savoured and enjoyed.. September 2, 2011
Format:Paperback
Beautifully written, this novel takes us on a journey through time, where we meet a diverse cast of characters all of whose lives are affected in some way by the location in which they find themselves, the empty and mysterious Californian desert.

Each of the various tales is lovingly told and our sympathy is demanded for, and easily given to, each of the characters: from the original Native American inhabitants, to the new-age followers of the UFO cult of the Ashtar Galactic Command, right up to the lost and lonely rock star of today. And our main sympathies lie with the young couple, Jaz and Lisa, whose autistic son, Raj, mysteriously disappears during a trip to the desert - a disappearance that echoes earlier incidents in the history of this strange place.

I think this is a book that may mean different things to different readers. For me, it was about the search for faith. The characters bring so many gods to the desert over the years, and it seems that the desert absorbs them and weaves them into its mystery. Each of the characters is fundamentally changed by their experiences in this place - their existing beliefs shaken by what happens to them there. But the book is not preaching a particular line - the overwhelming feeling left at the end is that, for the author as well as for some of the characters, the question of whether there is something beyond the rational remains unanswered, perhaps unanswerable.

This may make the book sound like a heavy read, but the wonderful prose, the fascinating tales, the occasional flashes of humour and, above all, the sympathetic characters all combine to make this a book to be both savoured and enjoyed.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Much and Not Enough April 18, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What an annoying, unsatisfying book. Kunzru wastes our time setting up a premise, or several premises - and then lacks the courage or imagination to resolve any of the questions he raises. I might flatter the author by hypothesizing that the absence of an ending or an explanation is itself the point: that the human condition is to spend our lives wandering in the desert seeking in vain for answers to the big existential questions, as we soothe ourselves with religion in the meantime. If the book were simply about the myriad ways that we delude ourselves into thinking there's something bigger going on in the universe, if it were merely a commentary on our capacity to invent one god myth after another and then bow down to it as if it were real, I could live with that, although it wouldn't be news.

But I'm not feeling magnanimous, because Kunzru took me on a wild goose chase through that long, hot desert, all the while making tantalizing insinuations about that something bigger without ever taking a stand. Something does happen in this book: an autistic child is mysteriously kidnapped in the desert, mysteriously comes back months later, and mysteriously begins to become normal. And this event mirrors an earlier one in the book in which another child is mysteriously kidnapped in the desert and later returned. Kunzru invents a real mystery, and then surrounds the mystery with many variations on the theme of self-deluded religiosity. So, are we self-deluded, or not? Did something happen, or didn't it? Are our religious myths an attempt to rationalize or explain real paranormal phenomena or the existence of extraterrestrial life? Are all these things true at the same time? Kunzru doesn't say. GODS WITHOUT MEN is a giant cop-out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars So so
I read this book because it was the book of the month read by my book club. It was weird and hard to keep up with the characters. Read more
Published 10 days ago by flittin
3.0 out of 5 stars Weird.
Weird but interesting -not easy to make sense out of and disappointing ending with no res0lution. History and geography add interest
Published 2 months ago by Jacqueline Baumann
4.0 out of 5 stars Mysteries and stories
Stories within stories, I enjoyed the complexity. Some of the chapters are wonderfully engaging, but I found I had to struggle through others. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Flor
5.0 out of 5 stars clean copy of a clever novel
no problems at all. really good condition and arrival timely enough, given as a gift.....what an invigorating read this is
Published 5 months ago by Kevin
4.0 out of 5 stars unfinished
Kunzru can really write but does he have trouble wrapping things up or does he leave story endings unfinished by design? Read more
Published 6 months ago by Steve Reid
2.0 out of 5 stars confusing
story line seemed very disjointed - was unable "meaning" of this story - tried to re-read, still unable to grasp story line.
Published 6 months ago by sue gelber
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique
I had to read it twice. There's a lot going on and the timelines do not lend themselves to jumping in and out of the next
Published 6 months ago by SoloWry
5.0 out of 5 stars Super powerful
the best kind of fiction. I get the feeling that the author got at least partially unintentionally carried off by his own magic in the telling of this wonderful extra-dimensional... Read more
Published 11 months ago by avid
2.0 out of 5 stars This book is not finished
In the beginning I was amazed by his writing. Extremely good. I advanced fast through the stories, waiting to see how the author is going to make a connection between different... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Luna Max
4.0 out of 5 stars Depends on your tastes
This book is very well written but is not the type of book I normally read. The story is somewhat of a fantasy, not my cup of tea. But it was a good choice for a change of pace. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Multi-Media Man
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More About the Author

Hari Kunzru is the author of the novels The Impressionist (2002), Transmission (2004), My Revolutions (2007) and Gods Without Men (2011), as well as a short story collection, Noise (2006). His work has been translated into twenty-one languages and won him prizes including the Somerset Maugham award, the Betty Trask prize of the Society of Authors, a Pushcart prize and a British Book Award. In 2003 Granta named him one of its twenty best young British novelists. Lire magazine named him one of its 50 "écrivains pour demain". He is Deputy President of English PEN, a patron of the Refugee Council and a member of the editorial board of Mute magazine. His short stories and journalism have appeared in diverse publications including The New York Times, Guardian, New Yorker, Financial Times, Times of India, Wired and New Statesman. He lives in New York City.

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