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Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale Too True

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3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  70 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
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
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Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2011)
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Lea
I'm not even sure where to begin with this one . . . There are a lot of wonderful and intriguing ideas here, but just too many problems for me to get past.

Let's start with the positives:

The setting is interesting, a sort of alternative old-west that is close enough to read as genuine history -- but just try looking up some of the people and incidents mentioned and you'll quickly see that the author has well and truly convinced you to accept fiction as fact.

Most of the characters -- while not li
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Tim
Apr 08, 2011 Tim rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Perhaps book reviewers are meant to relegate themselves to commenting on what's inside a book. Yet there are times the publishing process plays a role in a book. Unfortunately, that process damages Kris Saknussemm's latest novel, Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale Too True . (Full disclosure: Saknussemm is a "Facebook Friend" of mine but I know nothing of the editorial and marketing decisions for this book. Likewise, he won't know the theme or content of this review unless and until he reads it.)

I wa
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Christian Smith
Aug 16, 2015 Christian Smith rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book in the same way I've made a lot of my most cherished literary discoveries- grabbed it for .25 at a library book sale just because the cover looked interesting. One of my greatest joys is opening a book up with no expectations and then having my mind blown by what I find inside.

"Enigmatic Pilot" hit so many of my "buttons" it was almost as if it was written with me specifically in mind. A bizarre amalgam of genres- steampunk mashed up with magic realism and laced with acid w
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Dirk
Sep 22, 2011 Dirk rated it did not like it
Perhaps Kris Saknussem is too smart for my own good. The novel's prologue is set in 1869. Chapter 1 takes up the tale in 1844. At that point, I think that the tale will cover 25 years and explain the rather fascinating "enigmas" contained in the prologue. Not so. Chapter 1 introduces a family in Zanesville, Ohio that receives a letter from the adult male's brother in Texas, urging them to join him there and discover something amazing. The family sets out on the journey. The novel takes them as f ...more
Brian Gallagher
Mar 27, 2012 Brian Gallagher rated it it was amazing
Imagine the cover of this novel in motion, beckoning the reader into this one of a kind story of folklore and mystery. A pandora's box in disguise, it is the coveted book that lives in the storage room of the library. I cannot help but wonder what it would be like to be the reader who finds a copy in 100 years. Yes, it is that cool.

Reading "Enigmatic Pilot" is a wet dream for both philosophers and conspiracy theorists, as this book unleashes realities that stack upon themselves like Russian nes
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zxvasdf
Apr 22, 2011 zxvasdf rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This tall tale too true chronicles the mixed breed family Sitturds' migration South in response to a letter sent by the father Sitturd's brother. This is their story, but it is truly Lloyd's story, the six year old genius whose schemes deliver his family from woe, but also brings them out of the frying pan into the fire more often than not.

The plot traces through historical events as we know them to have happened, with a bit of strange hoodoo thrown in. Saint Louis, Riverboats, escaped slaves.
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Ori Fienberg
Jun 23, 2011 Ori Fienberg rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-yarns
In the last book I review on goodreads, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, I complained that I was not always convinced of the narrator's age and that he seemed just a little too precocious. The same complaint could certainly be made of the main character of Enigmatic Pilot, Lloyd Sitturd, but I'm not going to make it.

Enigmatic Pilot steers it's reader so quickly and so deeply into a strange land that his antics seem just right for the [very] pre-teen 19th-century robot-building uber-genius prot
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abbylee Oqueli
Aug 05, 2011 abbylee Oqueli rated it did not like it
Another book that started off so strong and hopeful and then just fell apart! I loved the first two chapters and then spent the rest of this extremely slow read waiting to get back to that place. It was long, confusing, frustrating, and not at all what it set out to be. After dedicating countless hours to the characters and plot, I can honestly say, "I have no ideas what this book is about and not a clue what happened in the end." I also found it difficult to read about a six year old who was se ...more
Summer
Apr 01, 2016 Summer rated it did not like it
It's clear the author is a talented writer, but I didn't care for frankly anything in the book other than it was set in 1840s. The main character Lloyd is a sexually-aware six year old genius, and his costars club-footed papa Hephaestus and impossible-to-understand-without-reading-her-dialogue-out-loud Voodoo mama Rapture ..... well, while they are weird, they are also pretty flat and boring. The best characters in this book are the side-characters. And the plot is about as slow as a snail movin ...more
Stephen
Mar 04, 2014 Stephen rated it did not like it
Definitely a tall tale. One so tall I gave up..twice. The first time after the intro. The second time I made it to mid-book. Good stories, even the most fantastic, are those that have a clear narrative and at least some believability at their core. Pilot has neither. Galore by Michael Crummey is an example of what this novel could have been. Where Galore is mythic like Moby Dick, Pilot feels like the kind of wild story you hear in bar that after ten minutes you lose interest in, say "excuse me" ...more
Sade
Jan 10, 2013 Sade rated it really liked it
Well - wow. This looked like it was going to be another quasi-steampunk-ery alt-history thing, and in a sense I guess it is.. but with some weird occult overtones and an ending I *really* didn't see coming. Which I greatly admire.
Jack
Sep 01, 2012 Jack rated it really liked it
This started off with a great kick but decended into an odd story about and odd family rambling through the US in the 1840s. From what I have read about the book, I need to read Zanesville to appreciate some of the characters. It was a fun read. Zanesville is on my list.
Danny
Sep 14, 2011 Danny marked it as to-read
Sounded interesting, but started it right before a book dry spell and didn't feel like going back to it.

Sorry book! Maybe some other time.
Dean
I really enjoyed this book, until the end. I don't understand how it ended.

Thinking back on the story, I'm still not sure I understand the Prologue or the last 2 chapters.
Blair West
Blair West rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2015
Robert
Robert rated it it was ok
Jul 11, 2011
Chris Quinn
Chris Quinn rated it it was amazing
Dec 29, 2015
Morrie
Morrie rated it liked it
Sep 23, 2011
Oe Nj
Oe Nj rated it liked it
May 12, 2012
Nicole
Nicole rated it liked it
Apr 18, 2012
Randy Cauthen
Randy Cauthen rated it it was amazing
Jan 10, 2014
Primoz Gabrijelcic
Primoz Gabrijelcic rated it liked it
Sep 29, 2013
Emily
Emily rated it really liked it
Jun 21, 2011
Catrina
Catrina rated it really liked it
Feb 24, 2016
David Griffin
David Griffin rated it really liked it
Mar 19, 2014
Dave
Dave rated it did not like it
Mar 10, 2012
Vincent
Vincent rated it liked it
Apr 29, 2013
Andy
Andy rated it did not like it
Nov 21, 2013
Johanna
Johanna rated it really liked it
Feb 24, 2012
Alena
Alena rated it liked it
Apr 21, 2015
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Kris Saknussemm is a cult genre bending novelist and multimedia artist. Born and educated in America, he has lived most of his life abroad, primarily in Australia and the Pacific Islands.

His science fiction themed novel ZANESVILLE, published by Villard Books in 2005, was hailed by critics as a revolutionary work of surreal black comedy. It has attracted the devotion of outsider artists like the Le
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