Saturday, January 20, 2024

Seven books with fictional characters in search of utopias

Tara Isabella Burton is the author of the novels Social Creature, The World Cannot Give, and Here in Avalon, as well as the nonfiction books Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World and Self-Made: Curating Our Image from Da Vinci to the Kardashians. She is currently working on a history of magic and modernity.

At Lit Hub she tagged seven titles
about ordinary human beings trying—whether through travel, religion, or political experiment—to transcend the seemingly mundane world they’re living in, and to seek enchantment outside their everyday lives.
One of Burton's inspirations:
David Burr Gerrard, The Epiphany Machine

A cult story of a different kind, the late David Burr Gerrard’s second novel—inspired by since-shuttered New York speakeasy bookstore Brazenhead Books—reimagines its notoriously eccentric proprietor as the bombastic Adam Lyons: the possessor of an unprepossessing but inexplicably powerful machine capable of tattooing personalized “epiphanies” on users’ forearms: truths visible to everybody but themselves.

When young Venter Lowood, whose parents’ lives have been destroyed by use of the machine, seeks out Adam—and gets drawn into a web of violent deaths surrounding the device—he finds that the machine may upend his life, too.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Epiphany Machine.

My Book, The Movie: The Epiphany Machine.

--Marshal Zeringue