A GOLD MEDALIST FOR BEST FICTION IN THE 2013 INDEPENDENT BOOK PUBLISHERS BOOK AWARDS
'Your brother forgives you,' Ben Armstrong is told by his mother's ghost, 'Don't waste that,' and so the hero of this novel starts his long journey home. What follows is a wild ride through the subconscious. It's amusing and hilarious and weird, and unlike any homecoming story you've ever read before...
"...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."
--DAVID JAMES DUNCAN, author of The Brother’s K and The River Why
"David Allan Cates ignites a new vision of Cain and Abel. Invitingly mysterious and breathtakingly compelling—the story takes on the shape of a rattling tale. Although the story is dreamlike, it does not stall or coerce like a dream—it opens out to mythic possibilities, the strange truths of life. There is a deep hunger for literature that expresses desire and fear with fearlessness and David Allan Cates is on that cutting edge. Wonderful—an Alice in Wonderland journey for grown-ups."
—DEBRA MAGPIE EARLING, author of Perma Red
"David Allan Cates may take you places you’ve never been, have never imagined going—to a dead brother slowly turning into a fish on your staircase landing, say, or into the fields around your house only to find a ghost troop of Union soldiers encamped there—but his great knowledge of the deep workings of the human heart serves as an unerring guide wherever his story lead. This is a deeply moving work by an uncannily gifted writer."
--PETE FROMM, author of Indian Creek Chronicles, and How all this Started