Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Toward You"

Jim Krusoe is the author of the novels Erased, Girl Factory, and Iceland. His stories and poems have appeared in the Antioch Review, Bomb, the Chicago Review, the Denver Quarterly, the American Poetry Review, and other publications. He teaches at Santa Monica College and lives in Los Angeles.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Toward You, and reported the following:
Ah, page sixty-nine!—not even a whole page but more like a half—and it’s the tail end of a chapter at that. Yet curiously, though not much seems to be happening, it’s also just could be the tipping point of the entire novel.

On this page Bob, the protagonist, gives an extra coat of shellac to the Communicator, a device he has constructed out of egg cartons, which he hopes will enable him to listen to dead people. Actually, The Communicator is the culmination of a vision he had long ago, when he was still a student at the Mind/Body Institute, and dating Yvonne, and finally he’s sure he’s on the right track. When the device perfected, Bob is sure he’ll become a millionaire and win Yvonne back again.

So the helmet rests there on some old newspapers spread over the floor to make sure that spatters from the shellac don’t mess things up and, as Bob waits for the helmet to dry, he makes himself an omelet. (He’s got about fifteen dozen eggs he needs to use up after buying all those cartons to construct his invention) While he eats, he watches a show on the Nature Channel, his favorite fare.

This particular program is about starfish and Bob wonders, in between bites, if the starfishes’ missing limbs can remember their old bodies. For that matter, are each of us ourselves like limbs that have been severed from some larger, other self? Hmm. Deep thoughts in the middle of the day for Bob, but little does he know that lying there beneath the slowly drying Communicator, printed in the very newspaper he’s laid out to keep things clean, is an article that will give a new and tragic urgency to his quest.

Bob will discover it in just a couple of more pages—let’s say on page seventy-three—to be exact.
Read reviews and excerpts, and learn more about Toward You at the publisher's website.

The Page 69 Test: Girl Factory.

The Page 69 Test: Erased.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue