Synopses & Reviews
Part parable, part fantasy novel, part laugh-out-loud satire, American Desert is the story of Theodore Street, a college professor on the brink of committing suicide. When the decision is taken out of his hands--he's hit by a car and his head is severed from his body--he must come to terms with himself.
At his funeral, he sits up in his own coffin with the stitches that bind his head to his body clearly visible. Everyone is horrified by this resurrection. He becomes a source of fear and embarrassment to his daughter, and an object of derision and morbid curiosity to the press and the scientific communities, and is anointed as a sort of devil by an obscure religious cult. In the process, Theodore manages to reestablish his relationship with his estranged wife and family and to rediscover the value of his life.
In this experimental, satirical, and bizarre novel, critically acclaimed author Percival Everett once again takes on the assumptions of a culture whose priorities have gone out of whack. He lampoons the press, religion, and academia while offering, ultimately, an existential meditation of what constitutes being alive.
"[S]mart, satirical and engrossing....Thoughtful, darkly comic and full of heart, the novel offers a wonderfully unusual story about retrospection and forgiveness." Publishers Weekly
"High-gloss satire and fast-paced adventure....Everett tempers his portraits with a compassion that also embraces Ted's family, torn between love and revulsion....Vital signs for this page-turner are all just fine. Especially the heart." Kirkus Reviews
American Desert is a dark, fantastical tale of a man who dies by decapitation in a car accident, and then comes back to life, to the incredulity of everyone around him, and to his own astonishment. In this experimental, satirical, bizarre and oddly funny novel, Percival Everett once again takes on the assumptions of a culture whose priorities have gone way out of whack, lampooning the press, religion, academia and offering, ultimately, an existential meditation of what constitutes being alive.
A man is decapitated in a car accident, then astonishingly comes back to life in this experimental, satirical, bizarre, and oddly funny novel, which lampoons the press, religion, academia, and contemporary culture.
About the Author
Percival Everett is a professor of English at the University of Southern California and the author of 14 previous novels, including Glyph, Frenzy, The Body of Martin Aguilera, Watershed, and Walk Me to the Distance. He is a recent recipient of the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction. He lives outside Los Angeles and in British Columbia.