One of my favorite reads of 2011: Dwight Okita's strange and wonderful The Prospect of My Arrivalis available free for a limited time on Kindle.
I loved this book. The premise is genius, and the beautiful writing totally delivered the goods.
I was intrigued when I saw the trailer. It sounded like "Benjamin Button" meets "What Dreams May Come"; could the author actually pull that off? You're in some very dicey territory, endowing the unborn with a persona. I suspect a lot of editors and agents would look at that and glaze over instantly. Not gonna touch that with a vaccinated cattle prod.
This book is not a no-brainer. It's quirky and delicious. Like ice cream with bacon. But it's also profoundly uncomfortable in places. One moment two loving parents are tucking their child in under a magical lit up ferris wheel mural, the next moment something incredibly dark unfolds. (And here the editor who hoped for an easy trip to the acquisition committee coughed coffee and hit "delete"...) What keeps you reading is the austerely lovely writing and a compulsion to find out what Prospects decision will be when he's presented with the choice to live - or not - in this world that weaves magical realism with dystopian surrealism.
One particular passage that, for me, perfectly sums up THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL: Prospect asks his mother what happens in the Tunnel of Love, and she says, "It's just a sweet little ride that takes you to a dark place. After a while you get so turned around, you forget what's happening in the world around you. But eventually you come out into the bright light again. The cars are shaped like big swans."
Yeah. What she said. Dwight Okita has committed a valiant act of poetry here, and yes, he pulls it off.
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