Smoke City: A Novel
by Keith Rosson Author
Marvin Deitz is plagued with issues. His mob-connected landlord is pushing him out of his storefront. His therapist is worried about his stability. He’s motivated to volunteer at the Children’s Hospital—though it breaks his heart each time. Yet, there are many skeletons in the closet.
Deitz hitchhikes through a smoky southwest US to Los Angeles, in search of a woman he saw on television who claimed to be the reincarnation of Joan of Arc. Naturally, Dietz believes himself to be the reincarnation of Geoffroy Thérage, the French executioner who lit Joan of Arc’s pyre in 1431, which is, of course, a guilty, terrible memory that's impossible to live with. On the way to Los Angeles, Marvin is picked up by Mike Vale, a self-destructive alcoholic painter traveling to his ex-wife’s funeral. They are each seeking their own stripe of absolution. Together, they encounter a series of apparitions, who seem to appear randomly on freeways and in vacant lots. While there is a lot of story, it's largely character driven as our trio confronts their pasts, presents, and futures, and facing ugly truths head on.
Straddling the line between literary fiction and magical surrealism, it's variously funny, serious, and heartfelt. Landing on many "best books that I've read this year" lists, Smoke City is intelligent, weird, brutal, fascinating, and will stick with you for a long time.
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