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Zanesville

A Novel

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Paperback published by Villard (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
WHO IS ELIJAH CLEARFATHER?

Futuristic bioweapon or good old-fashioned messiah? Reincarnated ex-porn star or mutant information-age revolutionary? The man who awakens in New York City’s Central Park with no memory of his identity and the enigmatic message FATHER FORGIVE THEM F carved into the flesh of his back may be all of these things and more.

Taken in (and then expelled) by a group of freedom fighters battling the soul-deadening Vitessa Cultporation, Clearfather is a stranger in an even stranger land. Following tantalizing clues that point to the gnomic Stinky Wiggler, and pursued by murderous Vitessa agents, Clearfather embarks on a surreal odyssey of self-discovery across an America that resembles a vast amusement park designed by some unholy trinity of Walt Disney, Hunter S. Thompson, and Hieronymus Bosch.

Accompanying Clearfather is an unforgettable cast of characters–including Aretha Nightingale, an ex-football-playing drag queen; Dooley Duck and Ubba Dubba, hologram cartoon characters sprung outrageously to life; and the ethereally beautiful Kokomo, whose past is as much a mystery as Clearfather’s own.

By turns hilarious and deeply moving, a savage, fiercely intelligent satire that is also a page-turning adventure and a transcendent love story, Zanesville marks the arrival of a brilliant new voice in fiction.
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WHO IS ELIJAH CLEARFATHER?

Futuristic bioweapon or good old-fashioned messiah? Reincarnated ex-porn star or mutant information-age revolutionary? The man who awakens in New York City’s Central Park with no memory of his identity and the enigmatic message FATHER FORGIVE THEM F carved into the flesh of his back may be all of these things and more.

Taken in (and then expelled) by a group of freedom fighters battling the soul-deadening Vitessa Cultporation, Clearfather is a stranger in an even stranger land. Following tantalizing clues that point to the gnomic Stinky Wiggler, and pursued by murderous Vitessa agents, Clearfather embarks on a surreal odyssey of self-discovery across an America that resembles a vast amusement park designed by some unholy trinity of Walt Disney, Hunter S. Thompson, and Hieronymus Bosch.

Accompanying Clearfather is an unforgettable cast of characters–including Aretha Nightingale, an ex-football-playing drag queen; Dooley Duck and Ubba Dubba, hologram cartoon characters sprung outrageously to life; and the ethereally beautiful Kokomo, whose past is as much a mystery as Clearfather’s own.

By turns hilarious and deeply moving, a savage, fiercely intelligent satire that is also a page-turning adventure and a transcendent love story, Zanesville marks the arrival of a brilliant new voice in fiction.
Product Details
Paperback (496 pages)
Published: October 11, 2005
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Villard
ISBN: 9780812974164
Other books byKris Saknussemm
  • Sea Monkeys

    Sea Monkeys
    A Memory Book
    Bowling lessons with a hunchback. A bizarre first-grade teacher who hallucinates in class. A tragically innocent family blind-sided by flower power, and the salvation of soul music at a radio station straight out of a Quentin Tarantino version of The Twilight Zone. These are just a few of the luminous characters and conjurings Kris Saknussemm delivers in his kaleidoscopic Sea Monkeys—the story of his growing up in the counterculture San Francisco Bay Area and central California in the 1960s. Known for his genre-bending works Zanesville and Private Midnight, Saknussemm now gives us a highly original take on the nonfiction memoir, in which he shatters the stained glass windows of his father's church and mixes the pieces with ghost cartoons, the Cronkite contradictions of Civil Rights demonstrations, and ads for laxatives during a strange hiatus in American sanity when Sly Stone and Perry Como could both be in the Top 10. Honest, funny, and at times heartbreaking, Sea Monkeys is the no-holds-barred tale of one of our most exciting contemporary authors’ own coming of age, and the perfect follow-up to Saknussemm’s Zanesville, which Booklist hailed as “one of the most creative, edgy, and entertaining novels spawned in a decade.”

    Enigmatic Pilot

    Enigmatic Pilot
    A Tall Tale Too True
    Enigmatic Pilot is Kris Saknussemm’s outrageously brilliant yet profoundly moving exploration and excavation of the American dream—and nightmare.   In 1844, in a still-young America, the first intimations of civil war are stirring throughout the land. In Zanesville, Ohio, the Sitturd family—Hephaestus, a clubfooted inventor; his wife, Rapture, a Creole from the Sea Islands; and their prodigiously gifted six-year-old son, Lloyd, whose libido is as precocious as his intellect—are forced to flee the only home they have ever known for an uncertain future in Texas, whence Hephaestus’s half-brother, Micah, has sent them a mysterious invitation, promising riches and wonders too amazing to be entrusted to paper. Thus begins one of the most incredible American journeys since Huck Finn and Jim first pushed their raft into the Mississippi. Along the way, Lloyd will learn the intricacies of poker and murder, solve the problem of manned flight, find—and lose—true love, and become swept up in an ancient struggle between two secret societies whose arcane dispute has shaped the world’s past and threatens to reshape its future. Each side wants to use Lloyd against the other, but Lloyd has his own ideas—and access to an occult technology as powerful as his imagination.

    Private Midnight

    Private Midnight
    By the author of Zanesville, a seductive story of grit, gunplay, vampirism, and a bit of bondage. Detective Birch Ritter is a man on the edge-of himself. His past is filled with secrets, shadows, guilt, and ghosts. Then a dubious police buddy he hasn't seen in a year introduces him to a mysterious woman who says her business is shadows. What she knows about what lies between the darkness and the light inside men is more than Ritter may want to find out, and much more than he can resist learning. It's said that to try to forget is to try to conceal, and concealing evidence is a crime. But maybe revelation is another kind of crime-against nature. Kris Saknussemm, the widely acclaimed author of the sci-fi smash Zanesville, now delves into another genre, and another world-a world where even the sunlight is shadowy and where deviancy is the norm. Private Midnight is a journey into the seedy, sexy, underbelly of life-crime noir for a new generation.

    Reverend America

    Reverend America
    An aging albino nicknamed Casper travels home to Joplin, Missouri seeking refuge, only to find himself rescuing a pregnant teenage prostitute and embarking on a journey to the deep South. From the tornado ravaged landscape of Oklahoma where they meet an escaped old folksinger in the ruins of a demolished nursing home to the eccentric streets of Austin, Texas, their fugitive search for salvation ends finally in the bayous of Louisiana. Throughout the journey, memories of violence and sadness haunt Casper as a cast of characters as colorful and peculiar as America’s own history lead them to find something beyond all their individual expectations. In the tradition of Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood and Carl Hiaasen’s Lucky You, this dark comedy mixes the old with the new, inviting us into a fresh and uniquely meaningful story.  

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