Synopses & Reviews
A sparkling debut novel set in the sixties about a boy's emotional and fantastical journey through alien worlds and family pain.
Against the backdrop of the troubled 1960s, this coming-of-age novel weaves together a compelling psychological drama and vivid outer-space fantasy. Danny Shapiro is an isolated teenager, living with a dying mother and a hostile father and without friends. To cope with these circumstances, Danny forges a reality of his own, which includes the sinister "Three Men in Black", mysterious lake creatures with insectlike carapaces, a beautiful young seductress and thief with whom Danny falls in love, and an alien/human love child who-if only Danny can keep her alive-will redeem the planet. Danny's fictional world blends so seamlessly with his day-to-day life that profound questions about what is real and what is not, what is possible and what is imagined begin to arise. As the hero in his alien landscape, he finds the strength to deal with his own life and to stand up to demons both real and imagined. Told with heart and intellect, Journal of a UFO Investigator will remind readers of the works of Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem.
"Set in the mid-1960s, religious studies professor Halperin's gripping debut is less about aliens than alienation. Danny Shapiro, a 16-year-old UFO geek living in Philadelphia, grows estranged from his normal school friends. His dark fantasies lead him to hook up with a crew of teen UFO investigators who are as hardcore as they are precocious. As his seriously ill mother grows worse, Danny encounters the legendary Men in Black, flies a disk, gets lost in the middle of the earth and on the moon as well as strapped down on an alien operating table. A Jewish kid who doesn't believe in God, he studies the Bible and explores his religious heritage. Strange twists abound as Danny becomes the caretaker of a half-alien female child and gets ensnared in regional hostilities in Israel. While the science fiction talk may put off some, this heartbreaking coming-of-age story of a boy losing and finding his way in this and other worlds will resonate with many readers. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
In the 1960s, David Halperin was a teen-age UFO investigator. Later he became a professor of religious studies — his specialty, religious traditions of heavenly ascent. From 1976 through 2000, he taught Jewish history in the Religious Studies Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Now retired from teaching, he lives in North Carolina with his wife Rose. Journal of a UFO Investigator
is his first novel.