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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Anthem of a Reluctant Prophetby Joanne Proulx
“Proulx is . . . a talented inhabitor/i>/i>
“Joanne Proulx’s debut novel is an impressive literary feat. Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet is a pitch-perfect glimpse of that powerful yet paradoxically fragile moment in adolescence when the world is rushing at you and you are rushing at it.”—Katharine Weber, author of Triangle
“Proulx is . . . a talented inhabitor of people unlike herself . . . every new writer so blessed should be cherished.”—Toronto Star
“A narrative rippling with the author’s insight slyly encoded in the hormone itch and cooler-than-thou posturing of a mixed-up teen. . . . Beguiling.”—The Globe and Mail
“Joanne Proulx’s debut novel rocks, and her teenage protagonist, Luke Hunter . . . rules. . . . This is a great book.”—National Post (Canada)
"A contemporary coming of age story that feels authentic to its times. It has some rough language and doesn’t shy away from depicting the kinds of things that a lot of teens do—in other words, they’re not squeaky clean the way the kids are in the Stephenie Meyer Twilight books….what I like about Proulx’s writing is that, throughout the book, the reader never quite knows where she’s going with the various elements of her plot, yet once we get to where she takes us, it all makes perfect sense. And boy, does she get the voice right. Highly recommended.”—Charles de Lint for Fantasy & Science Fiction
When seventeen-year-old Luke Hunter foretells the death of his friend with freakish accuracy, his life gets complicated. Everyone in Stokum, Michigan, his rank little pinprick of a hometown, knows about the premonition and wants to know more. But Luke holds everyone—the local news crew, his parents, his buddy Fang—at arm’s length, telling no one that the death premonitions keep happening. Terrified, he lurches through a personal minefield studded with previously unconsidered existential ponderings, Christian fundamentalists, and a dream girl who his dead friend left behind. Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet is a darkly comic coming-of-age novel that nails contemporary youth culture.
Joanne Proulx’s short stories have been published in literary magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet is her first novel. She lives in Ottawa, Canada.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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
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Meet the Author
Joanne Proulx has had short stories published in literary magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, including Exile and Upstairs at Duroc. Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet is her first novel. She lives in Ottawa, Canada.
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In 2002 in Stokum, Michigan, teenager Luke Hunter smokes pot with his friends in the basement of the house of Todd ¿Fang¿ Delaney¿s never home parents when he makes a dark prediction. Luke claims one of them will not make it to school tomorrow because he will be hit by an out of state red van license plate BLU 369 Stan will go heads to head at 8:37 and lose. --- Word quickly gets around that Luke predicted to the nth degree of accuracy Stan¿s death. The media being in its usual uncaring frenzy state assault Stokum for information on the ¿Prophet of Death¿. They stalk Luke and his frightened bewildered parents as the town has become an asylum for the certifiable especially amoral reporters. Luke sees more 'death flashes' that soon become real seven months of death horrifying him as he wants to go back to his formerly mellow but somewhat cynical life. A prescription helps abate the visions even as religious fanatics try to intervene while a mom begs him to find his daughter when all he wants is his dream girl at school to say yes. --- This is a fast-paced young adult contemporary paranormal thriller that focuses deeply on a previously bored teen whose 99.99% of his brain consisted of one icon: girls suddenly he has the curse of seeing in graphic detail the death of someone soon. Thus Luke must cope with his unwanted psychic skills while avoiding the media, the religious nuts, the needy beggars, and even his family and friends whom he frightens. On top of that he is attracted to a girl who seems to reject him making him wonder if she fears his ¿gift¿. ANTHEM OF A RELUCTANT PROPHET is a well written teen angst thriller that leaves some threads unanswered, which implies sequel to me. --- Harriet Klausner
the writing was interesting, but the plot was kind of predictable. most of the characters didnt really have any soul, and the main character was, well, kind of lame, and so was the girl he liked. she was a bit annoying in my opinion. and one major hole in the plot that really bugged me was when the main character, who had been taking major amounts of a prescription drug for upwards of a month, out of the blue kicked the habit in one sentence and never had any further craving for the pills. that wouldnt happen, and it still bugs me.