Happy V-Day & Such

New review today in the St. Paul Pioneer Press for Wormwood, Nevada. A good thing to wake up to:

"Wormwood, Nevada" by David Oppegaard (St. Martin's Press, $24.99): David Oppegaard is another St. Paul author whose debut novel, "The Suicide Collectors," earned good reviews. Although Oppegaard didn't consider the story science fiction, there were otherworldly undertones to his tale of survivors wandering a landscape depopulated by an epidemic of suicide.

His new novel, "Wormwood, Nevada," centers on a similar unsettling event, but its mood is gentler. Booklist calls it a "genre-bending journey.

Tyler and Anna Mayfield, a former Miss Nebraska, arrive in Wormwood hauling a trailer. As they learn their way around a town filled with old cowboys, some unhappy people and meth dealers, they adopt a dog they find outside a restaurant owned by Mr. Diaz, a "tall Mexican American with wide shoulders, brown eyes, and a stomach that spilled over his waist like a pouch filled with too much gravy."

Anna, especially, is not happy in the suffocating atmosphere of the small town, and when a meteorite lands near Mr. Diaz's restaurant, the townsfolk re-evaluate their lives. Mr. Diaz becomes like a statue who sits beside the big hole doing nothing all day. He perceives the meteorite is from another place with other inhabitants. In the end, this beautifully written story, which may or may not include extraterrestrials, becomes a meditation on Tyler and Anna's love and on community.

Publishers Weekly said, "Oppegaard deftly aligns the inner fears and waning hopes of his well-rounded protagonists with the paranormal tremors."

And Kirkus praised the author for "skillfully (weaving) together this-worldly and other-worldly possibilities, crystal meth and Airstream trailers with nickel-iron space shards and flying saucers; he nimbly avoids tilting into either straight sci-fi or straight realism."


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