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Big Machine: A Novel Paperback – March 9, 2010
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Ricky Rice is a middling hustler with a lingering junk habit, a bum knee, and a haunted mind. A survivor of a suicide cult, he scrapes by as a porter at a bus depot in Utica, New York, until one day a mysterious letter arrives, summoning him to enlist in a band of paranormal investigators comprised of former addicts and petty criminals, all of whom had at some point in their wasted lives heard what may have been the voice of God.
Infused with the wonder of a disquieting dream and laced with Victor LaValle’s fiendish comic sensibility, Big Machine is a mind-rattling mystery about doubt, faith, and the monsters we carry within us.
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Crazy Good (and at Times Just Plain Crazy)
- The best way I can describe LaValle's writing style is Urban Intellectual- told from the perspective of his main character, who has been around the block a few time (if you know what I'm sayin'), the reader understands that this man may not be book-smart, but is definitely life and street smart (with a few exceptions). I didn't feel as if I was reading LaValle write from Rice's perspective, I felt as if I was truly reading Rice's memoir.
- Rice's back story is just as interesting as what's going on in the present (a cult, heroin, flesh eating cats), which some author's fail to do. Another character's, Adele's, who becomes just as important, background is also divulged and is just as intriguing. LaValle deliberately creates flat characters and well-rounded ones, leaving no doubt who's important.
- One of the most important concepts of the book, redemption, really makes the reader turn inward, forcing them to examine their own values and willingness to forgive (others and themselves).
- This isn't a scifi book that's beating you over the head with aliens or time travel. While there are some visible elements, especially towards the end, the text is scifi in the sense that it presents different explanations and possibilities for how we view life around us and how people communicate.
- LaValle gives credit to Darth Vader.
Nor For You
- If you don't care for different ideas involving religion
- Are turned off by drug or sex references
- Don't want to have to pay attention
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and am excited to read other works by Victor LaValle
the characters within the story reminds me of stories by authors like isabel allende, early barbara kingsolver, and kurt vonnegut- all great writers with fantastic imaginations. not very ordinary characters. maybe they came from the pages of junot diaz and ended up in the world of kurt vonnegut. that is quite a journey. but a journey that makes sense, within the framework of this storyline.
some of the story is heartbreaking, some is funny, all of it is strange, but in a good way....the writer is a great writer, that is very clear. i am not sure how to underline in my kindle, but there were certain passages i wanted to underline because they were written so well; some of the thoughts were so profound, and so poetic.
if you don't understand this story at first, i'd say: go with it, and you will be rewarded. this is a very special book, and the writer, clearly a very special writer. i'm going to look up his other books.
i actually was reading something on a sci-fi book site about a writer who has a book coming out featuring a devil in an insane asylum. the book sounded interesting, and the article mentioned one of the author's earlier books, called "big machine". i remembered i'd bought a book with that name some time ago, in a kindle free or .99 offer, and i found it in my kindle. book #378 of #689. yes, i have accumulated quite a few books, to say the least. and most are of that price range- cheap to free. i started reading "big machine" and found myself captured by the main character, invested in what happens to him..... and then the story got stranger and stranger, but i held on....so glad i did.
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I like Victor LaValle. The dude is crazy good.Read more