Beautiful and hypnotic; Ray of the Star is a novel of magical realism that will have you laughing at the absurdity of life and bowing to the tragedy. Laird Hunt's words will make the reader transcend into a world of living statues, yellow submarines, and talking shoes ? and love every second of it.
Laird Hunt Reading:
With Mary Caponegro
7 p.m. Tonight
1011 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55415
This novel explores the potency of lost love and the necessity of new love. At the heart of it all: a love story between a loner and a street mime.
'I would still like to hear whatever it is that has you engaging in dress-up and meeting with off-duty centaurs in the wee hours.'
'You mean besides my interest in the silver angel,'”
– pg 79-80
Solange is a silver angel with Lucite tears. She was once a smiling, golden angel until her lover was murdered, but after she meets Harry the tears start to disappear. Harry is running away from a tragic past and Solange literally stops him in his tracks. An angel is just what Harry needs as he begins his “assault on life”.
'This is about the connoisseurs, something to do with them, isn't it?' said Solange,
'It might and it might not be,' said Alfonso,”
Death appears in the guise of three gentlemen connoisseurs who know all about Harry's past. They promenade among the colorful mimes and after dropping hints to help Harry in love, plot to tear it from him. Lucky for Harry, some unlikely comrades come to aid: Alfonso, a centaur mime; Senora Rubinski and her ghost husband; Ireneo with his talking shoes; and Dona Eulalia, a seer who lights candles for lost souls. They can't keep fate at bay forever, though, and in the end Harry has to face the secret of his haunting head-on. It's not quite a happily-ever-after, and the ending will surprise most readers.
'They're coming,' she almost couldn't refrain from turning to Solange and adding, 'For both of you.'”
Hunt's extremely long, prose-like sentences are filled with sashaying ruminations. The point of view transitions seamlessly between all characters, so we see the world both inside and outside their thoughts. In this way, the mysterious and the mundane take on a matrix feel, but this is a labyrinth we want to get lost in. Hunt's deft touch gives life to death, mourning, and the afterlife. This amount of insight is not for the timid. “Ray of the Star” is insanely good.
editor’s note: Make sure to check out Laird Hunt’s Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for Ray of the Star