March 07, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST

Gods Without Men

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Hari Kunzru
publisher
Knopf
genre
Fiction
We gave it a B+

British author Hari Kunzru’s ambitious fourth novel spans 200-plus years and lays out a parade of characters: a disillusioned English rock star, a Wall Street whiz vacationing with his wife and autistic kid, an anthropologist studying Native Americans in the ’20s, assorted members of a demented UFO cult. At the center of it all is a distinctive rock outcropping in the Mojave Desert that may or may not be a supernatural portal to…something. What does it all mean? Kunzru is interested in the unknowability of the universe — the human urge to look for hidden forces that explain life’s mysteries. It makes sense, then, that nothing here really makes sense, although that disorientation can be frustrating. While Gods Without Men isn’t always narratively satisfying, it’s still a compelling exploration of cosmic-American weirdness. B+

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