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The Master Blaster

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  94 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
The much-hailed author of Gone Tomorrow, has crafted a luminous portrayal of strangers adrift in an intoxicating land. This captivating novel intertwines the stories of several inhabitants on Saipan, America's least-appreciated tropical island. George Griffin is a jaded writer who comes for a press junket and stays far longer than expected; Stephanie Warner is a university ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 29th 2012 by The Overlook Press (first published March 1st 2012)
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Jul 05, 2012 James rated it really liked it
Kluge's done it again. He's made a quiet, engaging, thoughtful novel full of his favorite themes which can be boiled down to this: we are strangers in a strange land. Wresting with identity, new beginnings, the lure of the island, as well as a micro-history of Saipan, Kluge's revolving stories tell an island's corruption, its offering of itself as an oasis of hope to those who need it, its destruction by those who love it. There's a lot to love here, with Kluge's wry and sharp observations (Thre ...more
Mar 26, 2012 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
Is there anything better than an engaging, entertaining work of fiction that tricks you into learning more about the real world? This is the case with "The Master Blaster," a novel set in Saipan. All I knew about Saipan prior to reading this book was from snippets of an NPR story that explained how products made there are shipped out with the valuable "Made in the USA" sticker. The problem is that while Saipan is a commonwealth of the United States (residents enjoy full US citizenship, passports ...more
Jul 29, 2012 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting novel, well worth reading, about present-day life on Saipan in the western Pacific. Told from the points of view of five archetypical characters found in so many far-flung communities--the long-term expatriate, the travel writer, the fly-by-night real estate speculator, the teacher, and the imported laborer. Add to that a mix of Russian prostitutes, Filipino entertainers, and a slew of lost souls who drift to such places. Yet cliches are avoided and each character is treated with ...more
Apr 12, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it
I lived on Saipan for 9 years. Kluge does not paint the most flattering picture of Saipan. However, knowing the island, I can tell that he loves it. I read his book thinking about how a friend can be critical of his best friend, but vigorously defend him from the same criticism coming from an outsider. Kluge's book might be a little overly dramatic on the negative side of life on Saipan (not many acts of violence there), but ultimately he captures what it feels like to live there: To be a part o ...more
Apr 24, 2012 John rated it really liked it
If you enjoy fictional explorations of the underbelly of the American Empire, this book is both instructive, depressing, and amazingly entertaining.
Agnes Benis
Dec 04, 2012 Agnes Benis rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
AdultFiction Teton County Library
Author: P.F. Kluge
User Rating: 4
Review: TCL Call#: F KLUGE P

Stephanie: 4 stars

Saipan, an island where old habits die fast and new ones come on quicker than you can say "Saipan...where?!" It's a place where new beginnings are in effect immediately after landing, and well....that's what islands do, right? They give people hope. At least that's what we think. This book is different. To author P.F Kluge, Saipan is an island where happiness surges in like a whooshing wave one minute, and then the ne
Stephanie Franco
Jul 10, 2012 Stephanie Franco rated it really liked it
Saipan, an island where old habits die fast and new ones come on quicker than you can say "Saipan...where?!" It's a place where new beginnings are in effect immediately after landing, and well....that's what islands do, right? They give people hope. At least that's what we think. This book is different. To author P.F Kluge, Saipan is an island where happiness surges in like a whooshing wave one minute, and then the next minute it recedes without a trace. This book reveals too many truths about h ...more
May 14, 2012 R. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
A delicious and important read - an airport novel with a social conscience - that I believe in time will find an audience both in the United States and our overseas interests. It's a rare book, too, in that it conjured curiosity about the setting, Saipan, a beautiful but Ballardian landscape that is half tropical paradise, half that abandoned mainland strip mall: the one between your town and the next, covered in gang tags, the one that had shops that sold things like discounted factory-second k ...more
Christine Irvin
Jan 17, 2016 Christine Irvin rated it it was amazing
P.F. Kluge tells the story of the island of Saipan, an island in the North Mariana Islands, in the Pacific Ocean. The story is told from multiple points of view, most of which are American characters who have come to the island to start a new life. Things don't work out as they planned.

This is an interesting story, one that is much different from what I usually read. If you're a history buff, you will probably like this story, even though this is a fictional tale.
Chris Bull
Aug 12, 2014 Chris Bull rated it it was amazing
Having been on island I can relate to the goings on in Saipan. Many of the situations Kluge outlines are only too true. There is always a hustle going on, money is being paid for favours (which are rarely returned).
What seems like a paradise on first sampling, never is. Hell is people.
The characters in the Master Blaster cover the gamut of people one sees on the island. Interesting that the "alien worker" is the one still standing.They don't have too many options.
Apr 18, 2012 Liz rated it really liked it
A long time ago I had randomly read Biggest Elvis by this author, and just loved it. Even though his topics and military themes are not at all in my usual set of favorites, he's such a good writer that the characters, locales, and history are vivid and involving. And this new novel was just as good. Far too short; I'm going to have to hunt down the rest of his books.
Aug 13, 2012 Dave rated it really liked it
Great book! I'm glad I got past the unappealing title and dug in and enjoyed this character and setting driven novel. The island of Saipan is a great backdrop for 3 americans and a bangladeshi who arrive for various reasons. Great characters.
Kevin Kiernan
Sep 24, 2012 Kevin Kiernan rated it liked it
5 characters whose lives intersect in Saipan. It didn't really give me as much of a sense of Saipan as I think Kluge intended. Easy breezy read, just didn't leave me with too much.
Oct 06, 2012 Jerome rated it liked it
The only reason I was interested at all in this book was the location of the story. Saipan. It held my interest while reading but is a rather forgettable book in general.
Aug 09, 2012 Patrick44 rated it liked it
This is not an easy book to 'like'.
But I do respect his writing.
Matt Price
Apr 28, 2013 Matt Price rated it really liked it
Excellent depiction of ex-pat life and vague meanings of citizenship in a globalized world, as well as the ambiguity of vocation in middle adulthood. Sec Ind Kluge book I've read this year.
May 21, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
A ripping good read. Bonus: learned a lot about Saipan, a place I didn't even know I wanted to know more about.
Aug 21, 2012 Katherine rated it really liked it
Oddly but pleasantly melancholic. A terrific sense of place, very distinct and unusual, and the impact it has on a variet of people. Interesting, distant sort of voice.
Patricia Steffy
Patricia Steffy rated it really liked it
Nov 11, 2016
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Jan 15, 2013
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Oct 19, 2013
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Judith Whitenack
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Aug 29, 2016
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P.F. Kluge attended Kenyon College and the University of Chicago, and served in the U.S. Peace Corps (in Micronesia). He has worked as a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and as an editor at Life magazine. He has written for numerous publications, including Playboy, Rolling Stone, and Smithsonian, and is a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler. As Writer-in-Residence at Kenyon, Klu ...more
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