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"Indiana, Indiana" by Laird Hunt

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An odd little book, "Indiana, Indiana" is the obliquely-told story of Noah, a very simple man who had a relationship with Opal, and has visions as a psychic. Opal is unstable herself - she set fire to her house, and then refused to leave it. Folks try to take advantage of Noah because of his simple nature and his unique abilities. All Noah wants is to see Opal again, but she's been committed to the care of the state. This is ultimately the story of an unusual man at odds with authority. That authority might be in the person of his father Virgil, or the sheriff, who wants insights about missing people or a crime scene, or the mental health authorities.

This narrative is told in an inexact tone, a dreamlike tone ... conversation is never in quotation mark, and the chronology jumps around startlingly. We finally discern that we have met Noah in old age, but then we jump back again to childhood, to courting years, then back to Noah's dotage. It's very effective in rendering the dreamlike consciousness of Noah - this is the book's greatest achievement, along with the clear implication of society's clumsiness and (perhaps) injustice when dealing with those with special needs.

This is an unusual and challenging book. It shows its author to be a highly skilled and wise practitioner. If you want to charge into an odd, quirky story, which nevertheless has clear lessons, pick this one up.
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