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Born in 1973, Josh Emmons was raised in Northern California and received an MFA and teaching fellowship from the University of Iowa. His debut novel The Loss of Leon Meed won the James Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award in 2005. He currently lives in Los Angeles.
'Josh Emmons is the real deal: a major league prose writer who has fun in every sentence; you want to keep reading him for the pure pleasure of his company' Jonathan Franzen Over the course of one December, ten residents of Eureka, California, are brought together by a mysterious man, Leon Meed, who repeatedly and inexplicably appears - in the ocean, at a local music club, clinging to the roof of a barrelling truck, standing in the middle of Main Street's oncoming traffic - and then, as if by magic, disappears. Each witness to these bewildering events - young and old, married and single, punk and evangelical, black, white and Korean - interprets them differently, yet all of their lives are irrevocably changed. Over time, these ten characters, previously only tenuously connected, form a strange community of shared experience. Highly original and brilliantly written, Josh Emmons's award-winning debut is a mystery, a love story and something else entirely.
`A major-league prose writer who has fun in every sentence' Jonathan Franzen `A clever speculative tale set against a backdrop of contemporary environmental and political threats' The New York Times Jack Smith's life revolves around work, alcohol, painkillers, and pornography, and he sees no reason to change. But when he falls in love with the daughter of the leader of a new Californian religion known as Prescription for a Superior Existence, his humdrum life is changed forever. Abducted and enrolled at one of PASE's spiritual training centres near San Francisco, Jack's scepticism is challenged by a sense of community and purpose previously unknown to him. He discovers that he might not be average. He might be extraordinary. But nothing is as it seems, and the question of whether he and those around him are headed toward transcendence or annihilation soon takes on global significance.
In Josh Emmons's inventive and utterly engaging debut, ten residents of Eureka, California, are brought together by a mysterious man, Leon Meed, who repeatedly and inexplicably appears -- in the ocean, at a local rock music club, clinging to the roof of a barreling truck, standing in the middle of Main Street's oncoming traffic -- and then, as if by magic, disappears. Young and old, married and single, punk and evangelical, black, white, and Korean, each witness to these bewildering events interprets them differently, yet all of their lives are changed -- by the phenomenon itself, and by what it provokes in them. And whether they in turn stagger toward love, or heartbreakingly dissolve it, Emmons's portrayal of their stories is strikingly real and emotionally affecting.