Big Machine

Big Machine Big Machine Epub Author Victor LaValle Ricky Rice Is A Middle Aged Hustler With A Lingering Junk Habit, A Bum Knee, And A Haunted Mind The Sole Survivor Of A Suicide Cult, He Spends His Days Scraping By As A Porter At A Bus Depot In Utica, New York Until One Day A Letter Arrives, Reminding Him Of A Vow He Once Made And Summoning Him To Vermont S Remote Northeast Kingdom To Fulfill It.There, Ricky Is Inducted Into A Band Of Paranormal Investigators Comprised Of Former Addicts And Petty Criminals, All Of Whom Have At Some Point In Their Wasted Lives Heard The Voice A Murmur On The Wind, A Disembodied Shout, A Whisper In An Empty Room All These May Or May Not Have Been Messages From God Their Mission Is To Find The Voice And Figure Out What It Wants.Big Machine Takes Us From Ricky S Childhood In A Matrilineal Cult Housed In A New York City Tenement To His Near Death Experience In The Basement Of An Iowa House Owned By A Man Named Murder And To His Final Confrontation With An Army Of True Believers And With His Own Past.

  • 2.1
  • 111
  • English
  • 20 January 2018
  • Kindle Edition
  • 387 pages
  • Big Machine
  • Victor LaValle

10 thoughts on “Big Machine

  1. christa says:

    Maybe you just broke up with your boyfriend Maybe you haven t had a boyfriend in, like, eons Along comes this guy good lookingish, sorta funny, kinda interesting People you like also like him You shrug and give him a whirl You just cannot catch the fever, though There is something off Cogs that don t match up or something Trying to cram a square peg into a round hole He becomes a placeholder Someone to sit next to in relationship s waiting room That, for me, was what it was like to read Victor LaValle s Big Machine It took me an Anna Karenina ish amount of time to read I just couldn t commit to it I probably ditched it in favor of finishing about six other books in the process It s not cheating if you aren t actually reading it, right Recovering addict Ricky Rice is scrubbing bathrooms in Grand Central Station when he is summoned to make good on a promise he made years ago while he was all whacked out in Iowa He travels to Vermont, where he becomes part of the incoming class of Unlikely Scholars This collection of former thieves, thugs, and prostitutes are given a living space, a fancy schmancy wardrobe, a food allowance, and spend 9 5 p.m reading newspapers for evidence of paranormal activity This group has a long history and it s own biblical creation story Ricky Rice quickly moves up the ranks, and is given a special assignment Go to Las An...

  2. Edan says:

    For the first 200 or so pages, Big Machine was my favorite book of the year It s smart, it s really fucking funny, the world I was pulled into was fascinating and weird and utterly believable, even as it was absurd and playful And I loved the narrator Ricky Rice is probably one of the best voices to come out of literature in the lastoh, ever probably The prose here is stunning, smart, beautiful, and funny in the way that I want it to be This guy was no bigger than a bunion 32 Taking heroin is like sinking into a tapioca hammock 64 Seeing America by bus is like touring the Louvre in a Porta Potti 250 She couldn t have been older than me Thirty eight or thirty nine And her thighs were so thick that she wobbled when she walked Now, let me say that I don t mean this an insult In fact, I mean it as the highest compliment She was shaped like a bowling pin The kind of figure that makes a man like me feel vigorous And if I hadn t seen her at the Washburn Library, I would ve asked that thick little woman on a date 56.And what I love about this book is that it s still very sad, too, and the emotions are raw Many terrible things happen, and the action doesn t exclude meditation or reflection or lyr...

  3. Paul says:

    Horror fiction at its best is in the business of pushing back the barriers, or risking the absurd in order to reach the sublime Ramsey Campbell from the foreword of Alan Moore s SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING, book 1 I need to go back and amend my top 10 books of 2009 list and put Victor LaValle s amazing and brilliant BIG MACHINE at number one I mean, compare BIG MACHINE to the pile of steaming mediocrity of some of the big books big media hype, buzz, and buzz I ve been reading lately which feature lazy writing, slapdash characters, and well, before I get sidetracked complaining about the overhyped and the supremely mediocre, let me lavish big love on Victor s book.Some plot stuff Ricky Rice is a middle aged heroin addict and janitor at a bus station One particularly disgusting morning he receives a mysterious letter with a bus ticket and the message You made promise in Cedar Rapids in 2002 Time to honor it Ricky goes, the bus drops in him the wilds of Vermont where he s taken to a remote compound of cottages and a main library building There are other addicts and criminals there too The comprise the unlikely scholars A group of rag tag paranormal investigators, searching for evidence or record of The Voice in dai...

  4. Kemper says:

    If you had a really important job that you needed done, a critical mission that the entire fate of your life s work depended on, would you send a 40 year old ex heroin junkie with a bad leg out to take care of it No Neither would I Ricky Rice might have saved himself some serious trouble if he simply asked, Why me As a child Ricky s family had been part of a cult led by three women in Queens, and he later grew up to be an addict Now clean he has been working as a janitor in a bus station when gets a letter referencing an event from his past and a bus ticket to Vermont When Ricky gets there he finds that he has been recruited to the Washburn Library to be one of their Unlikely Scholars.The Library is isolated in a rural area, and each of the new Unlikely Scholars gets their own cabin stocked with groceries and a new, if slightly dated, wardrobe They are all black men and women with shady backgrounds of one kind or another that hit rock bottom at some point in their lives Their new job is to go through newspapers, looking for odd stories that indicate some kind of supernatural happenings and ...

  5. RandomAnthony says:

    Victor Lavelle s Big Machine leaves me grasping for comparisons I m reminded of Chicago s Reckless Records Years back someone working at the store started stickering new releases with commentary like a mix of Throbbing Gristle and Teenage Fanclub with some early Yes influence I never had any idea of what those stickers meant, honestly, but they became a Reckless tradition that still, to my knowledge, exists today I don t know I haven t been to Reckless in a good six months.Anyway, Big Machine is a wild novel by a young from his jacket pic, anyway author with great talent and promise Victor LaValle writes like he s on the subway and he s got to get down a great story before the train arrives at his stop Big Machine is about an ex heroin addict who finds a cryptic invitation to an empty library in rural Vermont He d blow off the invitation but the letter references an event in his past of which no one else should know and his existence as a bus station janitor isn t much to leave behind Over the next year he encounters modern prophets, swamp ghosts, unlikely scholars, and questions of faith, doubt, and the presence of good and evil in the world His childhood in an NYC tenement cult haunts him on his travels and becomes part of an alternate plotline connecting his past with the present.I would say I ve never read anyth...

  6. Edward Lorn says:

    Victor LaValle is a terrific writer He plays with emotions, can make you laugh in one paragraph and sad in the next, and then laugh again a few sentences later The writing isn t the issue I had with this book It s the voice I read LaValle s The Ecstatic months ago While reading Big Machine, I noticed that both main characters, while different people, had the same voice I m starting to believe that LaValle only has the one voice slightly sarcastic, self deprecating, relatable low life He nails that voice, but I would have much rather read about a different kind of character.What saves Big Machine is the wacky storyline I had no idea where LaValle was going to take me after those first 100 pages But, I must say, getting through those first 100 was a goddamn slog I read the book from September 11 to October 21 It took me until October 18 to get past the first 100 pages Over a month to read a fourth of the book Not cool I almost didn t finish it because I was bored But something told me to stay with it In the end, I didn t regret the journey, only the outset I dug the idea and execution of the Devils of the Marsh They were creepy and imposing and I d never seen anything like them When I run into a new monster or entity that I dig, I usually want of them But, here, I found that LaValle used them just enough for my liking Another thing I ll mention is the inclusion of both a supernatural a...

  7. Simon says:

    This is one of those books that cries orphan and so leads reviewers to cast about for possible ancestries The back cover of the book itself sports three Gabriel Garcia Marquez mixed with Edgar Allan Poe, but than that, writes critic Mos Def If the literary gods mixed together Haruki Murakami and Ralph Ellison the result would be Big Machine, says Anthony Doerr If Hieronymous Bosch and Lenny Bruce got knocked up by a woman with a large and compassionate heart, they might have brought forth Big Machine, is the opinion of Amy Bloom.A piece in the The Nation magazine offers yet another improbable genealogy If Thomas Paine and Stephen King had collaborated across time on a novel, they might well have produced this book John Nichols.I couldn t really get further than halfway through, myself it was intriguing but just didn t really hold my attention But in the spirit of the reviews I ve just quoted, here are a few suggested lineages 1 A materialist slapstick of the aetherial realm produced, who knows how, by Emanuel Swedenborg and the Marx Brothers Groucho and Karl.2 If Mme Blavatsky has made herself present to James Ellroy in a seance, with an assist from Caspar the Friendly Ghost, this book is what the ouija board would have spelled out.3 If you came across a palimpsest on which Zora Neale Hurston had over written a varian...

  8. Vanessa says:

    Essentially you either get magical realism or you don t I am the latter So, I didn t really get this book But the writing is so good and the protagonist is so amazingly written and realized, that I didn t entirely mind Ricky Rice s back story was so interesting it would have made a fabulous book on its own Instead, he is dropped into a really strange but utterly original story about a mysterious research organization staffed by former junkies and criminals that are looking for messages from God Maybe The story gets weirder until you finally realize the end is not going to be able to wrap things up to your satisfaction if you are looking for any kind of logical conclusion Specifically, when I read what really happened to Ricky in Cedar Rapids that changed his life, I knew the end couldn t possibly make sens...

  9. Nancy Oakes says:

    I actually quite enjoyed this one above all, LaValle has a unique voice, his work is original thank you , and he is one of my favorite storytellers The man gets his points across, with serious things to say wrapped up a rather convoluted tale, and his work is definitely worth reading In chapter three of this book, there is a bus passenger who is three quarters bum standing in the aisle yelling at his fellow passengers, telling them that there s a fight going on in the country a fight about faith, people Faith and belief Before he gets booted off this bus, he has one final thing to say which is this To be an American is to be a believer But y all don t even understand what you believe in This one line sets up one of the most offbeat but finest novels I ve read this year Plot, etc with no spoilers can be found at my reading journal otherwise, just continue on What starts out sounding like a sort of Dan Brownish kind of story premise quickly moves into, as one of the book cover blurbs says, a mind rattling mystery about doubt, faith, an...

  10. Ben Campbell says:

    I seek exquisite, heralding, concise, quantum, stealth stories reality fiction to coin my phrase Plotting and sub plotting needs to jettison me into outer space and plummet me into hell I won t be bothered with menial, mundane situations and tongue wagging dialog Dull and tedious characters kill the story and bury my interest Am I asking too much from a writer Hell no Time is precious and words manipulate.Accost me with exhilarating and electrifying characters You say that s too difficult Then you shouldn t write Thrill me with stupefying and invigorating plotting Not possible for you Don t write at all Accost me and thrill me and I ll follow every word you write, every scintillating character you create and every brilliant plot you throw at me Please, just dazzle me and I ll be your devotee.As for the Big Machine, none of ...

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