Thursday, March 2, 2017

Universal Harvester

Loss. I never got comfortable while reading John Darnielle’s novel titled, Universal Harvester, and maybe that was the point. Rural Iowa seemed at first an unlikely place for a mood of menace and foreboding. But in every place there is loss to experience, there is grief, there is some form of menace. I remained uncomfortable as Darnielle changed story lines, moved backward and forward in time, and maintained a mood of loss and of being left behind. Darnielle uses the importance of image as key to the novel. From altered VCR tapes, viewers and readers can see for themselves as Darnielle puts it, “…people and places and things that might otherwise go unnoticed.” The images bear witness for those who weren’t left behind. From the title through the conclusion, I felt part of meditation on mortality, and I felt the lingering presence of death of some form or another, always ready to bring in the crops, present company included. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Universal Harvester from

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