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Gods Without Men
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Danny (danbrarian) | 74 comments Mod
"I've been through the desert on a horse with no name, it felt good to be out of the rain."

The lyrics to that song might as well be playing in the background as you read Gods Without Men, because it's all about the desert.

In the middle of the Mojave there's a butte topped by three spires of rock called the Pinnacles. It's the sort of a place that has a power all its own, and the characters in this novel find themselves drawn there. Skipping through time, from Spanish missionaries in 1778 to a burned out British rock star 2009, Hari Kunzru's novel weaves together the lives of people affected by this desert formation.

What is this power? Is it the trickster god Coyote trying to come out on top, extraterrestrials communicating with hippies in geodesic domes, or simply the beauty of a modern National Park? When a young autistic boy disappears near the Pinnacles, then reappears just as mysteriously, the media begins paying attention to this little patch of desert. Will they uncover the truth or simply add to the confusion?

Silhouetted against this central mystery are the ways these characters try to make sense of their own realities. Some turn to religion, some to complex mathematics, some to anthropology, some to interdimensional beings, some to drugs, and some to their own creative juices. By the end of the book you begin to wonder if they are all still wandering in the desert, or if, like in the song, they've made it to the sea.

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