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The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas

4.79  ·  Rating details ·  19 ratings  ·  18 reviews
"Rick Harsch told me that for The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas, he reached into a bag of tricks left in a closet in Brussels by forgotten literary masters, and as the punning title might suggest, he attempts no less—and much more—than to come to grips with what empire has wrought, and how over the recent two centuries the United States rose to global economic mastery an ...more
Paperback, 718 pages
Published October 26th 2019 by River Boat Books
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Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Forget about Ducks, Newburyport, that naked empress. Rick Harsch’s The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas is a true tour de force (a tour of force) and worth its weight in pages, filled as it is with humor and wordplay and allusions and obsessions and parental estrangement and trauma and much myriad manifold more. Multifarious and nefarious, it is a panorama of Americana from beginning to end, including the blemishes and bulimia of an unfortunate history (although fortunate for the few at the expen ...more
L.S. Popovich
If this book had been published in 1960, we would all know about it by now. "Manifold Destiny" would be a catch-phrase justification for our monstropolis steamroller of a country.

Combining an astonishing range of styles, a magisterial voice, operatic reverence, elegant tone variance, and predominantly satirical, cynical, jaded, darkly comic, acerbic, and comedic characters, this tome draws fair comparisons with David Foster child Wallace.

Composed of shifting viewpoints interwoven with parallel
Rick Harsch
May 01, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
The River Boat Books edition did not become a book. There is only one published edition of this book, by corona/samizdat. For details, contact rick harsch here or at
Kevin Adams
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
No, I didn’t read this amazing work of genius in a day. Though I could’ve (my GR list/timing is all messed up, was). I did start reading the second it arrived. Like when I received my first bicycle for my birthday. I ran right outside to ride (I was born on the last day of the year. Long Island, it was cold!) but that’s how excited I was. Many people smarter than I have said and written great things about this book and I say to you...listen to them, and now me, and order this. Order a couple. Gi ...more
Michael Welch
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I liked the book; I have to say I've known Rick Harsch for oh over thirty-five years now and I've read his first works published in the early 1990s, it must have been.

"The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas" is his longest book I believe but it has many of his earlier "elements": 1) Rick enjoys words and he has many, many that I've never seen before, but I don't let that bother me because, like Shakespeare, you WILL get the idea huh -- you don't need a dictionary; the plot will not elude you. 2) R
Nathan Vetter
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the top five books that I've had the pleasure of reading.
Todd Kimm
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dear Yous,

Shame on you for remembering it so. Nothing was your fault. And it wasn’t so crazy and rough. It was mostly still. We walked along the river almost every night, diving from the sea wall and swimming out to Rat Island. We’d divide the universe into threes and count our falling stars. It was a dime for each and Bell always got rich. He’d describe our past lives. In one we were the captains of the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria. In another we were a family with him the mother and us the
David Vardeman
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Once again Rick Harsch, author of the classic Driftless Zone trilogy, enters the universe of hardened opportunists. Their victims this time are not small-city inhabitants who run afoul of local underground sleaze but children, their own and the nameless unnumbered casualties of the wars they profit by. This novel seethes brilliantly with cool but white-hot anger at the high-stakes war profiteers, their casual aplomb, their indifference to any but their own interests. Prescient, timely, vulgar to ...more
Larry Riley
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At first when I started reading Eddie Vegas I thought how much it reminded me of Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. It's just this love of language and willingness to invent (I mean recalcitruant--think about that one) is there and it's got this multi-dimensionality of character and plot lines.....but whereas DFW's IJ looks to a calamity filled future for our would be empirical and exceptionalist happy nation the further I went into Eddie Vegas the more I was reminded of Melville or Dos Passos' 'Am ...more
Klaus Hauser
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I didn't think it was possible for Rick Harsch to one up his Skulls of Istria, but this here, The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas, is his magnum opus. The language must be compared, as one blurb does, to that of James Joyce, the invention is astonishing, and the cumulative meaning is beyond anything I have ever come across. There are sentences I had to read twice, but many more that I read multiple times for the sheer pleasure of the prose. This is in the category of award winners, from whatever ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book that initially draws you with its wildness and energy, luxuriating in language and wordplay and surprise, then cements its hold on you with the dawning (and startling) realization that the author is actually in full control of his material – which given the ridiculous scope of story and theme seems nearly impossible – then keeps you all the way to the stunning conclusion by creating characters you can't help but care about. There comes a moment deep in the novel when Har ...more
Bert Hirsch
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas by Rick Harsch

This is a great American novel!!!

Spanning the last two centuries of United States history it follows 4 generations of the Gravel/Garvin family. The family odyssey begins in the mid-1800s in the American Northwest where mountain men, trappers, miners, soldiers of fortune and military men vie for a piece of the action, and ends in modern day Las Vegas where Tom Gravel reinvented as Eddie Vegas seeks to reconnect with his son who has become involved
Bori Praper
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won't conceal the fact that I know Rick Harsch – the author of The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas – personally. What’s best about that – apart from being able to enjoy Rick’s sunny disposition and roguish good looks first-hand, of course – is that sometimes he lets me read his work before it’s published. So I happened to read Eddie Vegas more than four years ago (judging from my history on Goodreads), but, of course, the lazy slob that I can be, I didn’t bother to write a review. The convenie ...more
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've had the pleasure to be an early reader of Rick Harsch's latest novel "The manifold destiny of Eddie Vegas”. It is a very entertaining book, exceptionally well written and with a theme that will certainly unsettle you with its terrible truths.

While “The Manifold Destiny” is written for the experienced reader of sophisticate taste, Rick Harsch, devoid of the usual authorial arrogance, respects and is kind to his audience. Even if his book is written in an elaborate language and artfully craft
Feb 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
Do you like Joyce, Beckett, Gaddis, Broch, Pynchon, DFW, Nádas, Bolaño, DeLillo, Proust, and all the rest? Are you a fan of the Dalkey Archive? Then you will not like this book, because it is terrible; a fifth-rate imitation of far better authors, packaged into the non-existent 'genre' of 'big postmodern novels' that so many folks on GR seem to think exists.

I sincerely don't know why I'm bothering to write this, but to anyone who has stumbled across this book's URL, please do not spend money on
Giuliano Vivaldi
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mightily ambitious and also mightily impressive in many ways. Since I know the author through a joint love of Roberto Arlt the most powerful feature which hit me was the comparable 'tellurian nightmare' which knocks you on the head and disorientates you in a similar way to Arlt. But, of course, Arlt is not the only presence (and certainly not the most likely one). The manifold in the title is very much a manifesto of intent and the dizzying multiplicity of voices, tones, registers, tenses is som ...more
Robert Armagost
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I will never be the same!
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I have pulled the following two books from the subcompetent River Boat Books:
The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas, a novel;
Walk Like a Duck, a Season of Little League Baseball in Italy
As of April 24, 2020, these two books are available in a world edition under the imprint corona/samizdat, as explained in the following youtube video:

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From independent presses, to tales in translation, to critical darlings and new debut novels, these books (all published in the U.S. this year)...
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