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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  133 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews

Futuristic bioweapon or good old-fashioned messiah? Reincarnated ex-porn star or mutant information-age revolutionary? The man who awakens in New York City’s Central Park with no memory of his identity and the enigmatic message FATHER FORGIVE THEM F carved into the flesh of his back may be all of these things and more.

Taken in (and then expelled)
Paperback, 496 pages
Published October 11th 2005 by Villard (first published 2005)
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I initially picked this book up because Zanesville! I've been through there on the Greyhound bus, and I have this weird fascination with it even though I've never really spent any quality time there. Just the fact that Zane Grey was born there and... well, that's really it. I mean, who doesn't want to visit a town with a completely uninspired name like Zanesville?

The second reason I wanted to read this book was because of the cover. That's some fantastic cover design going on.

I had never heard o
Oct 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
The American-born, Australian-educated Kris Saknussemm has created the most original novel of the year with this wildly imaginative near-future satire. Explaining exactly what goes on in this dense book – outside of a doctoral dissertation, which someone no doubt will write – is very difficult.

The amnesiac Elijah Clearfather wakes in New York City with the enigmatic message FATHER FORGIVE THEM F carved on his back. He joins a group of rebels led by Aretha Nightingale, a linebacker-sized drag que
Lyric Powers
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: favorites
I love this book so much that I've read it five times now--two of those times aloud to friends over the phone over the span of a couple of weeks. They liked it too, in case you're wondering.

It caught my attention in a library a few years ago. Being from Ohio, I was curious what a book named for the city of Zanesville could possibly be about and the blurb on the back of the book immediately sold me. How could I resist "a surreal odyssey of self-discovery across an America that resembles a vast am
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a book of big ideas. Really big ideas that question the nature of reality and humanity's role in the scheme of things. It starts off surreal blend of cyberpunk then scatters into a philosophical and metaphysical treatise. If I had to define a genre for Zanesville, I would call it Mainstream Bizarro. Strange as hell, but not too strange for the average reader.

In the sometimes plodding, non-plot contribution scenes and impossible conjectures you can see the raw, unpolished nature of Saknus
May 13, 2009 rated it liked it
As I was reading Kris Saknussemm's debut novel Zanesville , I kept wondering, "In what part of the universe does this guy's mind reside?" I know it's an entirely different plane then mine -- but that's a good thing.[return][return]If forced to pigeonhole Zanesville, you would probably categorize the book as science fiction. But that is an understatement -- it defies categorization. How does Saknussemm describe the book? As "techno-theological post-American monster vaudeville." Now maybe you hav ...more
May 12, 2012 rated it liked it
I was most impressed with the ideas on expansion, capitalism, and power in the book than I was with the writing or the use of what has become a cliche reliance on "Geek Love"-ish cutesy-cryptic characters.

There's something a bit wanky going on with the pacing in the book, as well, particularly with the action scenes. Where the pace should be faster, it's slow; where it should be slower, it's fast. It's particularly maddening when reading the (predictable? overly extended? overly complicated?) e
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this book randomly in the library and was attracted by its cover and description. I give this book a full 5 stars because I have never been able to connect with a book so well. Along with adding words to my vocabulary, this is the first book I really paid attention to. The authors imagination is almost so close to being able to be a reality that it makes you think twice maybe three times. I have shared and will continue to share this book with other people or at least the ideas that have ...more
E.J. Stevens
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
I had some high expectations for this book, since I usually enjoy off kilter novels, however I found this one a bit lacking. It seemed to me that author Kris Saknussemm was trying too hard to shock the reader (through often unneccessarily graphic descriptions) and not enough effort on keeping the plot cohesive.
Ray Francis
No one does Jeremy Lethem better than Jeremy Lethem. No one does Jonathan Carroll better than Jonathan Carroll. Bless his heart, Saknussemm does try, though. On the whole, though, this book is full of occasional flashes of originality strung together by uneventful absurdity.
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
What is this? My first thought was Dr. Who meets Rocky Horror Picture Show with some compassion thrown in. I did enjoy it a bit more than expected. I am thankful a friend gave it to me. Four days of weird reading fun mixed with religious and political questions hidden in the story. Wow!
Rhonda Graser
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book will blow your mind. Kris Saknussemm writes so visually it's amazing.
Sep 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
So much fun! I loved it!
Apr 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
It took a very long time to get into this book. It was too much science fiction for me to understand it until quite a while into the book.
Apr 12, 2014 marked it as abandoned
Mmmm, it's ok, but after about 100 pages in, I find myself not reaching to pick it back up & continue reading....
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This book deserves more than the ten minutes I have to write a review here, so I'll just say I really enjoyed it and then write a more in-depth review tomorrow after work...
Aug 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Wacky writer along the lines of Pynchon, but not nearly the same level of complexity and depth.
Randy Cauthen
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Anybody who likes cyberpunk should read this. Also, anybody who likes Vonnegut. Or P.K. Dick. Or D.F. Wallace. Or Robert F. Jones's great, unknown book Blood Sport.
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Amazing book - complex, earthy, philosophical, historical, zany, magical ... and extremely well-written. I could not put it down.
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Not my usual kind of read, but it was highly recommended by my daughter.
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book had lots of extra characters, extra scenes, and extra plot "twists" that didn't bring anything to the story. Plus, it's not about Zanesville at all, unfortunately.
Rohit Ramesh
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May 15, 2012
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Dec 21, 2016
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May 13, 2013
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Feb 07, 2017
Grace Krilanovich
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Aug 11, 2011
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Mar 18, 2008
Ryan Luetzen
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Nov 16, 2014
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Feb 06, 2009
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Jul 30, 2012
Mark Bender
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Apr 05, 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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“Spiral minds are harder to twist.” 4 likes
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