Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru

‘More things in Heaven and Earth…’

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

gods without menBeautifully written, this novel takes us on a journey through time, where we meet a diverse cast of characters all of whose lives are affected in some way by the location in which they find themselves, the empty and mysterious Californian desert.

Each of the various tales is lovingly told and our sympathy is demanded for, and easily given to, each of the characters: from the original Native American inhabitants, to the Spanish missionary trying to bring Christianity to the ‘New World’, to the new-age followers of the UFO cult of the Ashtar Galactic Command, right up to the lost and lonely rock star of today. And our main sympathies lie with the present-day young couple, Jaz and Lisa, whose autistic son, Raj, mysteriously disappears during a trip to the desert – a disappearance that echoes earlier incidents in the history of this strange place. Through these interlinked stories, we are led into a maze of cultural heritage, belief systems and superstitions.

Hari Kunzru (bbc.co.uk)
Hari Kunzru
(bbc.co.uk)

I think this is a book that may mean different things to different readers. For me, it was about the search for faith – the desire for belief. The characters bring so many gods to the desert over the years, and it seems that the desert absorbs them and weaves them into its mystery. Each of the characters is fundamentally changed by their experiences in this place – their existing beliefs shaken by what happens to them there. But the book is not preaching a particular line – the overwhelming feeling left at the end is that, for the author as well as for some of the characters, the question of whether there is something beyond the rational remains unanswered, perhaps unanswerable.

This may make the book sound like a heavy read, but the wonderful prose, the fascinating tales, the occasional flashes of humour and, above all, the sympathetic characters all combine to make this a book to be both savoured and enjoyed.

NB This book was provided for review by Amazon Vine UK.

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

7 thoughts on “Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru

  1. This sounds like a really interesting psychological and spiritual sort of knowledge – spiritual in the sense of looking for meaning in life – as much as it is anything else. And having been through the California desert I can see why Kunsru would set such a novel there. I’m glad you enjoyed this as much as you did.

    • Oh I envy you that – the desert was definitely one of the main characters in the book and he made it sound a mysterious and wonderful place. I’d love to see it. Maybe one day…

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