Excerpt from the novel:
When Ben Armstrong woke he heard the mourning dove coo in the cedar tree outside his open window. He heard cows bawling in the pasture and smelled fresh dew, yet he felt a vague dread in the marrow of his bones. Summer again? He could have sworn just last night it was fall, or maybe even winter. He blinked and looked around the familiar room. Back on the home farm after twenty-five years away, lying in his boyhood bed—no wonder he felt strange.
Comments from David James Duncan, author of The Brothers K and The River Why:
...a deliberately troubling masterpiece... Ben Armstrong's Strange Trip Home begins with an all-American homecoming that traps its middle-aged ex-farmboy protagonist like a fly in a web worthy of Kafka. Cates' hero endures an inescapable series of dreams, visitations, half-melted memories, and unsought meetings with the living and dead. His subsequent attempts to escape -- or even understand his entrapment -- proceed to make a mesmerizing, one-of-a-kind music I've heard nowhere else in our literature. Endlessly inventive in its language, masterful in its fidelity to its own harsh vision, and symphonic in its impact, this novel builds from a series of perverse fractions to a darkly satisfying whole.
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