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Gods Without Men

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Reading Group Guide

The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that follow are intended to enhance your reading group’s discussion of Gods Without Men, Hari Kunzru’s viscerally gripping and intellectually engaging novel about the human impulse to search for meaning in a chaotic universe.

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Karal, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Karal)
Gorgeous, wise, and transcending ... A novel showing how time shifts in our perception of the world, how true knowledge is the knowledge of limits, a mystery at heart.
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Ross H, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Ross H)
A mind-blowing, time-hopping narrative centered around a peculiar rock formation in the Mojave desert. Mysterious, fascinating page-turner.
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Susmita Dubey, March 26, 2012 (view all comments by Susmita Dubey)
Hari Kunzru's new novel is described on the book jacket as the saga of a young couple whose child goes missing on a trip to the desert. However, so much happens before and around that incident that it really doesn't capture the mood or the plot of this wide-ranging, fascinating read. Kunzru expertly veers from 18th century priests to early 20th century Native Americans to the late 1960s counterculture and finally to a modern-day young couple facing the challenge of raising an autistic child. This is the kind of book you want to read at a single sitting (or two), and you will find yourself immersed in the world(s) Kunzru has created.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307957115
Author:
Kunzru, Hari
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Metaphysics -- Fiction.
Subject:
Visionary & Metaphysics
Publication Date:
20120331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.5 x 1.5 in 1.4563 lb

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Featured Titles » Arts
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life
Metaphysics » Fiction
Gods Without Men Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.00 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780307957115 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "As characters in acclaimed British novelist Kunzru's pitch-perfect masterwork tinker with machines for communicating with an interplanetary craft circling the Earth, their desperate quest for meaning is interrupted by a nonlinear melange of other strange endeavors that span centuries and cross the Mojave Desert: British rocker Nicky Capaldi's escape from L.A. in a convertible with a gold-plated Israeli handgun stowed in the glove box; beleaguered parents Jaz and Lisa Matharu's disastrous vacation with their autistic four-year-old, Raj; former hippie commune 'Guide' Judy's return to the desert, strung out on meth; and traumatized Iraqi teen Laila's participation as an actor in U.S. army war game facsimiles of Iraq. Presiding over it all are the Pinnacles, three fingers of rock that bear mute witness to Raj's disappearance and the ensuing frantic search. Also on board are Fray Francisco Hermenegildo Tomas Garcas, a half-mad Jesuit missionary intent on converting Native Americans at the close of the 18th century; Deighton, a disfigured ethnologist, annoyed by the young, 'half-educated' Eliza's failure to recognize 'the distinction he'd conferred on her by asking her to be his wife'; an aircraft mechanic named Schmidt working in the '40s who feels betrayed by what the Enola Gay unleashed over Hiroshima; a working-class mother seduced by the possibility of fellowship with benevolent otherworldly beings; and a local girl who once lived with the hippies and who — even though she returns years later to run the motel where Nicky, Jaz, Lisa, and Raj briefly stay — suspects she has never quite returned. Kunzru's (My Revolutions) 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. Agent: Melissa Pimentel, Curtis Brown." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "A reflection and an embodiment of our new world of flattened time and space....Gorgeous and wise."
"Review" by , "A beautifully written echo chamber of a novel."
"Review" by , "A gripping thriller...Kunzru uses his extraordinary gifts as a storyteller — his brightly textured prose, his empathetic understanding of his characters, his narrative flair — to turn a tabloidy tale into a genuinely moving portrait of a marriage and the difficulties of parenthood."
"Review" by , "Kunzru is wise beyond his years, [a] novelist in superb command of his craft....In his dazzling new novel, a desert is the setting, hero and villain....Here is where the walking wounded come to pray to Yahweh, Allah, Vishnu, Coyote, the Brothers of Light. Here are cynical veterans from WWII, hard-bitten GIs fresh from Iraq, randy communards, washed-up bankers, wasted groupies. Here is death, sex, and rock-and-roll."
"Review" by , "A stunning achievement...Gods Without Men will undoubtedly prove to be one of the most important works of fiction published this year."
"Review" by , "Kunzru weaves an array of competing stories, turning the novel into a kaleidoscope of clashing perspectives.... Gods Without Men stands out as a courageous attempt to engage with the complexities of faith and doubt in our postmodern world."
"Review" by , "[A] pitch-perfect masterwork."
"Review" by , "An astonishing tour de force."
"Review" by , "Gathers momentum, power, and a fierce clarify to deliver a rich panorama while detailing our mutual antagonisms and deepest spiritual needs....Extraordinary."
"Review" by , "Mind-bending...[a] thrill ride of a novel about searching for truth."
"Review" by , "A compelling exploration of cosmic-American weirdness."
"Review" by , "The prose is beautiful, every character is fully developed....Through devotion to careful diction and seamless fluctuation between a dozen different writing voices, Kunzru's novel shines as brightly as the desert's setting sun."
"Review" by , "Kunzru delivers a lively and frequently thrilling version of the quest novel."
"Review" by , "Compulsively readable, skillfully orchestrated....This really is Kunzru's great American novel."
"Review" by , "Sometimes dizzying, sometimes puzzling, always enjoyable, Gods Without Men is one of the best novels of the year."
"Review" by , "The literary skills of Hari Kunzru are evident throughout this complex and disturbing novel."
"Review" by , "A countercultural mind-expanding quest....As a virtuoso performance, changing gears and styles every 20 pages or so, encompassing 18th-century friars and Hoxton hipsters, it will appeal to fans of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas....Extraordinary."
"Review" by , "Kunzru's lively fourth novel tackles its big themes without ever becoming ponderous or heavy-going....Involving, thoughtful and thoroughly entertaining."
"Synopsis" by , In the desert, you see, there is everything and nothing... It is God without men. – Honoré de Balzac, Une passion dans le désert, 1830

Jaz and Lisa Matharu are plunged into a surreal public hell after their son, Raj, vanishes during a family vacation in the California desert. However, the Mojave is a place of strange power, and before Raj reappears inexplicably unharmed — but not unchanged — the fate of this young family will intersect with that of many others, echoing the stories of all those who have traveled before them.

Driven by the energy and cunning of Coyote, the mythic, shape-shifting trickster, Gods Without Men is full of big ideas, but centered on flesh-and-blood characters who converge at an odd, remote town in the shadow of a rock formation called the Pinnacles. Viscerally gripping and intellectually engaging, it is, above all, a heartfelt exploration of the search for pattern and meaning in a chaotic universe.

"Synopsis" by , US
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