By Hilton Obenzinger
Softskull Press, 2004
Paper, 4-1/2 x 7-1/2, 160 pages
US & Canada
With A* HOLE, Hilton Obenzinger has created an experimental fiction readers will experience as much as read. He draws from sources as varied as Mark Twain, the Patty Hearst story, the Biblical story of Abraham & Isaac, Melville’s Ishmael, detective fiction, his own experiences as a father and a teacher on Yurok Indian reservations, Hollywood, the porn industry and more, which he swirls together around the vortex created by the pull of his central hole. A young boy wakes one morning to discover he is sinking into the earth despite the new sneakers his parents promised would save him. A young woman begins reviewing films before they are made. A postal worker named Gary fulfills his occupational cliché and attacks Danny DeVito. A father writes letters to his wayward and far-flung sons. An archeologist finds evidence, perhaps, of the permanence of time as well as earth. A detective accepts a case requiring him to connect Patty Hearst to her other self. Though the story in A* HOLE is in continual flux, Obenzinger skillfully braids the multiple narrative threads into a novel which is much larger than its physical size, lyrically beautiful, and absorbing through and through.
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