In Victor LaValle’s new novel, “Big Machine” (Spiegel & Grau), a 40-year-old janitor and recovering addict, is magically recruited into the ranks of a secret society that is devoted to investigating the existence of God. Surrounded by fellow addicts and petty criminals, Ricky embarks on a thrilling and life-changing journey, wrestling with the many monsters, fears, and memories he has carried with him. Kevin Brockmeier, author of “A Brief History of the Dead” says, “Victor LaValle is one of the finest writers around—puzzling but never abstruse, compassionate but never pitying.” Brockmeier calls “Big Machine” “a pristine window into a flawed human soul, but also a daring fantasy through which America and all its troubles come sliding gradually into focus.” Compared in the past with Edgar Allan Poe and Haruki Murakami, LaValle has created a work that is animated and even allegorical, combining pieces of the everyday to create a mosaic of modern America. Amy Bloom, author of the New York Times bestseller “Away,” says:
If Hieronymus Bosch and Lenny Bruce got knocked up by a woman with a large and compassionate heart, they might have brought forth “Big Machine.” But it is Victor LaValle’s peculiar, poetic, rough, and funny voice that brings it to us, alive and kicking and irresistible.