For some reason, on a nice day I always imagine myself on Memorial Glade with some bad-ass sunglasses and a good read, casually flaunting the cover to whoever happens to be walking past. However, when a nice day actually sneaks up on me, I find myself in a classroom, tired of reading and not even grasping the concept of reading for fun. It’s not easy to read leisurely in college, especially trying to stick with the build-up of a narrative and hoping that it will be worth it.
But Hari Kunzru’s new novel, “Gods Without Men,” is the perfect read for a student who wants immediacy and a different kind of novel. Starting off with the Coyote demi-god repeatedly dying from meth-lab explosions, Kunzru’s novel skips across time and people, but somehow leaves the reader with a deep understanding of each character. The main story follows a couple who loses their son while on vacation, but Kunzru peppers the chapters with insights into other characters who seem peripheral at first yet eventually all intersect in some way with the main narrative.With the Mojave Desert as a motif, Kunzru creates a mystical yet realist narrative that spotlights both humanity as a whole and the individual experience. Kunzru’s prose is easy to read yet eloquent, making it the dream Memorial Glade read that you will actually finish and enjoy.
This Tuesday, March 13, Kunzru will be at the Hillside Club in Berkeley for a Q&A about “Gods Without Men.” It should be interesting and perhaps inspiring to see the thought-process behind such an imaginative yet unpretentious novel. Tickets can be bought in advance online.