Hari Kunzru

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Gods Without Men

Curtis Brown Highlight Frankfurt book fair 2011 book
UK & Comm Penguin
US Knopf
2011
Kunzru's pitch-perfect masterwork” – Publishers Weekly starred review 

2008. The California desert. A four-year-old boy disappears in the wilderness and his parents find themselves at the centre of a media witch-hunt. A British rock star hides out at a run-down motel. A teenage Iraqi refugee lives a surreal life as a role-player in a military simulation.

The present is connected to the past. The earth is connected to the sky. These stories connect with others – an eighteenth-century Franciscan explorer; a Mormon miner who can hear the silver singing in the rocks; a guilt-ridden aircraft engineer trying to contact Venus. Behind them all is Coyote, the trickster, who subverts the laws of Gods and men.

A compulsively readable journey into the twists and turns of a handful of human lives, Gods Without Men is also a heartfelt exploration of our search for pattern and meaning in a random and chaotic universe.
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Reviews


Kunzru just gets better and better. This fourth novel is an astonishing tour de force. Kirkus Starred Review
Full Review


[a] pitch-perfect masterwork... Kunzru’s ear for colloquial speech creates a cacophony that overlays his affectionate descriptions of the desolate landscape, creating a powerful effect akin to the distant cry of urgent voices crackling up and down the dial on a lonely drive through an American wasteland. Publishers Weekly (starred review)


He is a novelist in superb command of his craft, singularly equipped to join all the strands of that rich experience in a single story. Marie Arana
The Washington Post


Kunzru’s Gods Without Men is a great, sprawling narrative, as vast as the canvas on which it is written. The Washington Post


Gods Without Men reads like an unlikely mash-up of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and Steven Spielberg’s classic 1977 U.F.O. movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, seasoned with some borrowings from David Foster Wallace and Don DeLillo. The book is, at the same time, a wildly ambitious novel that spans centuries; a gripping thriller about a missing child; and a sort of sci-fi tale about pilgrims of various sorts being drawn to a mysterious rock formation in the desert in search of contact with aliens or some sort of higher meaning. Michiko Kakutani
New York Times


With each book, his narratives have grown more ambitious, though they’re always compellingly readable...In its scale and invention, Gods Without Men trumps them all.
Mike Doherty
National Post


Some readers of Gods Without Men speak of it in hushed tones as conveying the secrets of the universe to its readers. There certainly are many secrets in Hari Kunzru's beautifully written, ambitiously conceived fourth novel. Gene Seymour
Newsday


Some readers of Gods Without Men speak of it in hushed tones as conveying the secrets of the universe to its readers. There certainly are many secrets in Hari Kunzru's beautifully written, ambitiously conceived fourth novel. Much like the Mojave Desert landscape that is its principal setting, the book both exposes its knottiest secrets to glaring sunlight and keeps them in deep shade to keep them from unraveling. Newsweek


His skill at inhabiting nearly any voice is a dazzling miracle...[Gods Without Men] is a big, innovative questioning book. San Francisco Chronicle


Kunzru weaves together narratives both big and small to create a story just as focused on sweeping myths and wide open spaces as it is on small things, like the makings of a family. Flavorwire


Mind-blowing... one of the most original novelsw I have read in years, daringly imaginative, funny and troublesome, and above all a commentary on certain kinds of lunacy that help define the American character. Charles Larson
Counterpunch


Kunzru's achievement in Gods Without Men - what places him with Pynchon and DiLillo - is moving beyond a personal, emotion-bending story to collect and invent earlier narratives of magical thinking... that create a selective but unique and fascinating history of god-struck America. Salon


The book engages with enormous, complicated themes: religion vs reason, indigenous culture vs Imperialism, fact-finding vs storytelling. Kunzru is a fiercely intelligent writer who exhibits control over both is material and his impressive variety of narrative voices. The Slate


The literary skills of Hari Kunzru are evident throughout this complex and disturbing novel. Financial Times


Kunzru has already established himself as one of the most socially observant and skilful novelists around. In Gods Without Men, he has raised his game still further, creating a mature, intricately balanced fiction that is consistently gripping and entertaining. Michael Sherborne
Literary Review


Gods Without Men is a step further along the road towards the full realisation of Kunzru's early promise. It makes undeniable the claim that he is one of our most important novelists. The Independent


Involving, thoughtful and thoroughly entertaining. Daily Mail


This really is Kunzru's great American novel... Compulsively readable, skillfully orchestrated, Kunzru's American odyssey brings a new note into his underlying preoccupation with human identity. The Independent


Gods Without Men is something of a revelation... This clever and extremely enjoyable novel deserves to be popular not just with hippies, students and other questing types, but also with more sceptical audiences.
The Guardian


[Kunzru's] biggest, most ambitious and engaging novel to date. Sathnam Sanghera
The Times


Hari Kunzru turns an outsider eye on a stretch of California desert and moves between centuries and narrators to weave a parable about the human powers of mythmaking.
Time Magazine


A beautifully-written echo-chamber of a novel. David Mitchell


Kunzru creates a host of authentic characters in a story that draws in readers, leaving them astonished and saddened. We Love This Book