Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Parallel. I can’t think of ever being so pleased with reading a novel that confused me as much as Steve Erickson’s Shadowbahn. This imaginative book presents a parallel America, a country very different from the one we know. In this parallel country, Elvis wasn’t born. Instead we have his non-singing brother, Jesse. Without Elvis, gospel music survived, and rock never emerged. In this other world, there is a JFK who was never elected president. The Twin Towers have appeared in the South Dakota Badlands. People flock to the site, and some see and hear things that others can’t. A brother and sister are on a road trip listening to a music playlist that was made by their father. This intense novel provides paragraphs in disconnected spurts and that was the key to my confusion. I was always losing my bearings. Adventurous readers with a high tolerance for confusion will find great writing, a dreamlike experience of imagining life in a divided nation absent many familiar cultural markers, and a work of art that riffs on the theme of parallels and twins and all that might have been and that might be. I was exhausted as I rushed through reading this novel. I was confused. I was delighted. Rating: Five-star (I love it) Click here to purchase Shadowbahn from

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