Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet

Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet

4.3 3
by Joanne Proulx

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Hairstyles of the Damned meets The Lovely Bones.See more details below


Hairstyles of the Damned meets The Lovely Bones.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A teenager's gift of premonition becomes a curse in Proulx's confident debut. It's the fall of 2002 in Stokum, Mich., a "rank little pinprick of a town," where a night of pot smoking brings about Luke Hunter's prediction that his friend Stan will be crushed by a red van with out-of-state license plates. When the random prophecy comes true, a "media madhouse" infiltrates Luke's quiet life while his parents remain confused and frustrated. Dubbed the "Prophet of Death," Luke experiences more "death flashes" that become reality. Terrified by his new ability, Luke gets a prescription for a powerful sedative, which stops the visions for a while, but soon they-and his general disillusionment with life-return. As Luke tries to make peace with his psychic abilities, he crushes out on a girl at school and is the subject of an attempted religious intervention. Though a couple of plot points are left unexplained or unresolved, Proulx channels the ennui, insecurity and inner yearnings of a teenage boy to produce a fast-moving tale of struggling youth that has a great potential for YA crossover. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal

Adult/High School -"Stan....Tomorrow morning. Eight thirty-seven" is teen protagonist Luke Hunter's stoned premonition of someone's death. He jokingly shares it with his gang of "basement dwellers" gathered for "bad dope, bad company and even worse music" in bland, middle-class suburban Stokum. But when Stan dies the next day, exactly as predicted, life veers wildly off track for Luke, his friends, his family, and the town's citizens as they attempt to make sense of it all. Proulx's thoroughly engrossing first novel is a darkly comic, yet naturalistic portrayal of the interior and external world of contemporary teens. Her kids are refreshingly authentic. They are not exaggerated, self-absorbed cartoons spewing vacuous, ironic sound bites. Rather, they are warmly human, rich, and developed individuals. Luke is tagged the "prophet of death" by an overzealous self-serving news anchor. But he is no prophet, nor does he want to be. His fleeting clairvoyance predicts a few more deaths, but then fades away as quickly as it manifested. He attempts to alter the outcomes of these other premonitions, but he is powerless to do so. Neither well-intentioned nor less-benign adults, including a doctor and a preacher, can provide Luke with the answers he is seeking. Beautiful, unpretentious Faith, Stan's girlfriend, acts as Luke's anchor and forgiver. He eventually learns he can only work to heal himself, and be true to his friends and those who love him. This ultimately redemptive story celebrates adolescence with compassionate understanding. A glorious wow of an ending has Luke discovering his own salvation, standing with Faith in the front row of a White Stripes concert, rejoicing simply intheir youth.-Jodi Mitchell, Berkeley Public Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews
Wise-ass narrator Luke Hunter is given to premonitions about death-some true, some false-and eventually has what he might call a spiritual-like epiphany. Proulx is pitch-perfect in her portrayal of the potty-mouthed, weed-smoking, angst-ridden adolescent narrator. The novel is framed by death scenes. The first is Stan's, a golden boy whose death Luke eerily and unaccountably foresaw. The last takes place at the cemetery where Stan is buried, where Luke reconciles himself to the difficulties of being fallible, sensitive and human. In between lies the story of Luke's presentiments about the death of friends and acquaintances, Luke's clumsy attempts to get closer to Stan's girlfriend (who mysteriously bumps into him at a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert-another supernatural sign?) and the attempt of Pastor Ted to "wring Satan" out of Luke. Growing up in the spiritless town of Stokum, Mich., Luke spends much of his time monosyllabically avoiding his parents and especially his Uncle Mick, reputed to have an extrasensory power similar to Luke's. At the core of the narrative is Luke's awkward coming-of-age story, one complicated in his case by a gift-or curse-he can't control. The essence of Luke's world is his status as a loner and self-defined loser. Spiritual inquiries hold no interest for him. (When queried about what he has faith in, Luke's first thought is the advertising logo "Put Your Faith in Foster's.") Eventually, however, he develops a more serious perspective on ultimate mysteries through his friend Fang and through Stan's girlfriend, the aptly named Faith. By the end of the novel, by his own admission, he "even [manages] to figure a couple things out. One. Yeah, everyone is going todie. But first, we get to live." He also realizes that Stan was admirable and universally loved because he " ‘was cool, funny, smart . . . He wasn't afraid of being good.' "A debut novel that's sharp, edgy and slightly skewed-all qualities Luke consummately embodies. Agent: Samantha Haywood/Transatlantic Literary Agency

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Product Details

Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.54(w) x 4.98(h) x 1.00(d)
1040L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

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