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2017 July Loan Stars Top Picks

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The Epiphany Machine
By (author): David Burr Gerrard
9780399575433 Hardcover English General Trade FICTION / Literary Jul 18, 2017
$36.00 CAD
Active 6.25 x 9.31 x 1.31 in 432 pages Putnam G.P. Putnam's Sons
A searing alternative history of New York city, from the 60s to the near future, in which a tattoo machine is rumored to inscribe insightful assessments on its users’ forearms—with irreversible consequences.

Everyone else knows the truth about you, now you can know it, too.

That’s the promise of Adam Lyon’s epiphany machine, or at least the headline of an original promotional flyer he uses in the 1960s. At that point, Adam is already hosting regular salon nights in his tiny New York City apartment, where his guests can offer up their forearms to his junky old contraption and receive important, personal revelations in the form of a tattoo.

Over the decades, Adam’s apparatus teaches John Lennon to love The Beatles, takes early blame for the spread of HIV, and predicts several violent crimes. But most significant to Adam may be the days on which he marks the arm of Venter Lowood’s mother, and then his father, and then Venter himself.

It’s Venter, a bright but lost young man, who becomes Adam’s protégé. It’s Venter who records the testimonials from epiphany machine users, who studies another writer’s history of the machine. And it’s Venter who reads Adam’s pamphlet, distributed into the 90s and aughts, that adds to his original oath:

There are absolutely no circumstances under which your epiphanies or any other personal information will be shared with law enforcement.

It’s Venter who will be forced to reconcile himself to this important caveat, when the government begins asking questions about a very specific tattoo that marks the arm of his best friend.

Story Locale: New York

BELOVED CULTURAL ICONS for readers to revel in, including cameos from John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Harvey Keitel, George Washington, Andrew Blue and David Foster Wallace.

TIMELY SUBJECT MATTER for our current age steeped in self-awareness, social media, and personal brands. THE EPIPHANY MACHINE delves into issues of responsibility and privacy.

SPECULATIVE FICTION IS ENJOYING NEW GROWTH as writers from Ben Winters to Emily St. John Mandel continue to command attention.

David Burr Gerrard received an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University, and his work has appeared in The Awl, The LA Review of Books, The Millions, The Barnes and Noble Review, Full Stop, Specter, Extract(s), and other publications. His first novel, Short Century, was published by Rare Bird Books. He teaches fiction writing at Manhattanville College and the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop.

Author Residence: New York

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“With THE EPIPHANY MACHINE, David Burr Gerrard has masterfully channeled Kafka and written an engrossing and inventive mystery. A deeply compelling read by a terrific young writer.” - Ben Marcus, author of THE FLAME ALPHABET

“David Burr Gerrard is a writer of such tremendous audacity, intelligence, wit, and compassion that I want to keep him all to myself. But I cannot, as this would be bad for the world. THE EPIPHANY MACHINE is a darkly funny page-turner about whether we can ever know who we really are, and how it feels to be told who we are. Throw David Foster Wallace, Kurt Vonnegut, and David Mitchell in a blender and you will have something of a taste of the blood and guts of his work, and then drink deep!” - Scott Cheshire, author of HIGH AS THE HORSES’ BRIDLES

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