Synopses & Reviews
Memoirist of mediocre fame, Charles Homar has a problem: his bride-to-be, Gillian Lee, has nixed their nuptials and fled to the high seas in search of a legendary giant squid, unleashing an unholy heart wreck upon him. In a hell-bent effort to prove his mettle as an American male and win back Gillian's affections, Charlie crisscrosses the nation seeking counsel, confronting creatures both mythic and real — "Bigfoot on the Canadian border, space aliens in Seattle, a professional bodybuilder with Asiatic sex slaves in suburban New Jersey, the demons dancing a rumba inside his own heart — "and then writing about his travails every week for a popular slick magazine.
Echoing a narrative tradition that includes Don Quixote and Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, William Giraldi's debut novel is a love story of linguistic bravado that explores American excess, the diaphanous line between fiction and fact, and what desperate men and women will do to one another.
"In his riotous debut novel — up there with, say, James Wilcox's Modern Baptists — Giraldi tells the story of Charles Homar, a jilted fiance who embarks on a hilariously ill-advised odyssey to win back his beloved. Charles is a 'memoirist of mediocre fame' whose engagement to the lovely Gillian falls apart when she takes off with oceanographer Jacob Jacobi. After a short jail sentence for ineptly shooting up Jacobi's boat, Charles decides that the only way to win back Gillian is to prove his manhood to her. He sets off on a cross-country odyssey: searching for Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest with a Jewish African-American hunter; looking for UFOs with an ex-girlfriend in Seattle who claims to have been abducted by aliens; seeking advice from an astronomer in Boulder, Colo., who has his own calamitous love life to deal with; and getting fit with the aid of a New Jersey bodybuilder and two Chinese prostitutes before heading back to Boston for a final reckoning. Charles's journey — filled with offbeat characters, seen through a perfectly skewed worldview, and related in an idiosyncratic voice — might remind readers of the one taken by the equally wrong-headed Ray Midge in Charles Portis's comic masterpiece, The Dog of the South. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"William Giraldi's Busy Monsters is rammed with life. It has more than promise. A kind of elegiac intensity, remarkable for so young a man, pervades its harmonies." Harold Bloom
"Take the amped-up lyrical braggadocio of the American South and join it to a sly, at times Nabokovian celebration of psychological obsession. Add a pinch of O'Connor, a dash of Hannah, heat with an imagination reared in both the canon and its rock & roll antipodes. Busy Monsters is an unforgettable achievement by one of our most important young chroniclers of anguish and bliss." Sven Birkerts
An exuberant modern-day picaresque about the cost of love-struck obsession and the inevitable monsters of every human heart.
About the Author
William Giraldi's work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Georgia Review, The Believer, the Kenyon Review, and Poets & Writers. A senior editor at AGNI, he teaches in the Arts & Sciences Writing Program at Boston University.