From Publishers Weekly
Pratt (Little Gods
), praised for his short fiction, stumbles in his first novel. Marzipan "Marzi" McCarty, a 20ish California art school dropout, writes quirky comics. Marzi's also the night manager–barista of Genius Loci, a Santa Cruz coffeehouse decorated by vanished muralist Garamond Ray to hold in elemental Evil. The wild adventures that Marzi concocts for her cowpunk character, Rangergirl, start coming true after her artsy friends become obsessed with freeing weird gods. When the Outlaw, a representative of everyone's worst fears, busts loose from its surreal corral, the Desert Lands, it's up to Marzi, the new artist-guardian, to save the whole shootin' match from disaster. Pratt's simplistic message, glimpsed sporadically behind clouds of neo-hippie jargon, self-consciously naughty language, outdoor sex and nasty violence, is pretentious and even a little naïve—that art can trap our fears and hold them at bay. Like too much marzipan, it all turns cloying mighty fast, pardners. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Marzi works at Genius Loci, a coffee shop in Santa Cruz, California, whose claim to fame is the murals in it, painted by Garamond Ray, who disappeared after the 1989 earthquake. Marzi also writes a neo-western comic called The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl
, in which the heroine battles otherworldly versions of the villains of westerns. When one of the shop's regulars shows up claiming to worship the god of the earthquake, and moments later a quake rocks the place, and Marzi sees an oddly dressed figure running off--well, then, things are clearly becoming strange. Life begins to imitate art too closely for comfort: a woman made of mud, part of a story in Marzi's comic, is wandering the streets trying to achieve her own mysterious goals, and the villain of the same piece--a primal force from the otherworld behind the locked door in the Desert Room of Genius Loci--turns out to want to destroy California. With Lindsay, a friend from art school, and Jonathan, who lives in Genius Loci's attic apartment while he is studying the murals for his thesis, Marzi travels beyond the possible into a grand and magical western, indeed. Regina SchroederCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved