8.6

Victor LaValle: Big Machine

Books Reviews Victor LaValle
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Victor LaValle: <em>Big Machine</em>

Doubt and faith go hand in hand

Former heroin addict Ricky Rice has resigned himself to a lackluster existence mopping floors in various dilapidated bus stations across the Northeast,

but then a mysterious letter arrives with a one-way ticket to Vermont and a reminder of a promise made years ago. Ricky soon finds himself thrust into a strange organization of semi-supernatural scholars with the expressed goal of understanding the inner workings of fate.

Victor LaValle’s deeply thoughtful—and often hilarious—second novel, Big Machine, intimately explores faith and doubt, the institutions of family and religion, and the gritty wisdom of the hopeless. The narrative shifts between past and present, gradually revealing that Ricky’s life is not merely a collection of meaningless tragedies, but that some force has been guiding it all along.

Seamlessly blending elements of the harshest realities with the fantastic and magical, LaValle has the makings of an urban Gabriel García Márquez.