Wormwood, Nevada

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Tyler and Anna Mayfield have just relocated from Nebraska to the sun scorched desert town of Wormwood, Nevada. They find themselves in a strange new landscape populated with old school cowboys, alien cultists, meth dealers, and doomsday prophets. Loneliness and desperation pervade Wormwood, and when a meteorite lands in the center of town, its fragile existence begins to unravel as many believe the end of the world is near, while others simply seek a reason to believe in ...

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Wormwood, Nevada

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Overview

Tyler and Anna Mayfield have just relocated from Nebraska to the sun scorched desert town of Wormwood, Nevada. They find themselves in a strange new landscape populated with old school cowboys, alien cultists, meth dealers, and doomsday prophets. Loneliness and desperation pervade Wormwood, and when a meteorite lands in the center of town, its fragile existence begins to unravel as many believe the end of the world is near, while others simply seek a reason to believe in anything at all.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Within hours of their arrival in sun-blasted, hardscrabble Wormwood, Nevada, Tyler and Anna Mayfieldwatch a meteorite crash into the parking lot of the Taco Thunder Mexican restaurant. It's a dramatic introduction to their new hometown, and as the community bakes under a sun as fierce as "the angry eye of God," some of the natives begin to reveal themselves as deeply dotty. One mounts a chaise lounge next to the crater to await the End. Tyler is invited to join the Visitation Society, which plans to welcome wise aliens who will teach earthlings about peace and happiness and mediate their arrival with nervous Russian and Chinese militarists. And everyone tries to cope with loneliness and the need to believe in something.

For Oppegaard, less seems to be more. His style is matter-of-fact, even when Tyler has a one-sided conversation with an alien, and he only hints at the nature of the angst troubling the citizens of Wormwood. Even so, readers who take the genre-bending journey to Wormwood will be glad they did.

— Thomas Gaughan, Booklist

Publishers Weekly
A meteorite crashing into the Nevada desert sparks a search for meaning and purpose in Oppegaard's intriguing if flat follow-up to The Suicide Collectors. Tyler and Anna Mayfield move to Wormwood, Nev., looking to escape the postcollege funk that permeated their lives in Nebraska. When a night out at the local bar is interrupted with a massive explosion nearby, the young couple find themselves in the middle of an already off-kilter town going meteor crazy. Tyler, haunted by the disappearance of his older brother years ago, sees booze, weed and fatigue-induced visions of aliens and becomes involved with a group that believes “visitors” will arrive imminently. Meanwhile, Anna, a former Miss Nebraska, suffers apocalyptic nightmares amid fears that the best years of her life are slipping away. Oppegaard deftly aligns the inner fears and waning hopes of his well-rounded protagonists with the paranormal tremors, but the tension all but dies in the final act as the novel unspools into a disappointingly diffuse anticlimax. (Dec.)
Kirkus Reviews
New arrivals in a small desert town encounter meteorites, exploding meth labs, UFOs, cultists, an old-time sheriff who patrols on horseback and more. Tyler and Anna Mayfield have just relocated from their native Nebraska to sun-blasted Wormwood, Nev., where Tyler has taken a job teaching high-school English. Things turn immediately odd and sinister. Tyler starts seeing (or thinking he sees) aliens; Anna is tormented by persistent nightmares about the world's end. Then a meteorite crashes into the parking lot of the local taqueria, whose proprietor subsequently erects a crater-side shelter and hunkers down in it, holding up a sign reading "The End Is Near." Tyler confides in his aunt, who introduces him to a loopy astronomy club whose members believe that an alien visitation has begun and they will serve as "midwives to the next brave new world." Something big is brewing, in other words, and remote Wormwood seems to be its epicenter. Oppegaard skillfully weaves together this-worldly and otherworldly 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. Subplots about a student named Skull and Tyler's brother, who went missing from a mall parking lot years earlier, also suggest exciting developments to come. But these sparks ultimately sputter and die of neglect, while Tyler and Anna never come alive sufficiently to justify their central position in the narrative. As was the case with Oppegaard's debut (The Suicide Collectors, 2008), considerable promise but poor follow-through.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312381110
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/8/2009
  • Pages: 246
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David Oppegaard

DAVID OPPEGAARD was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Suicide Collectors was his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Simply Exciting

    David Oppegaard's second novel was an excellent read! I enjoyed following the journey of Anna and Tyler as they look to expand their life's options, and the meaning of their lives as well, all within a town who's edges are unraveling. Books that blend the personal journeys of ordinary individuals within a context of extraordinary, supernatural events, can be both insightful and thrilling. Wormwood, Nevada comes through in both those respects. Oppegaard's seemingly straightforward prose, shelters a complexity of ideas, that will haunt you long after you're done reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    fast-paced science fiction thriller

    Tyler and Anna Mayfield leave Nebraska when he accepts an English teaching position in Wormwood, Nevada where his Aunt Bernie resides. The town is in the middle of the great basin desert, sixty-seven miles from any other hamlet.

    As they near the town on the second day of the boring drive Tyler nearly crashes their vehicle because he saw something in the back seat; but nothing is there. He continues to see odd beings. He believes are aliens or he else he thinks he is going insane as Anna never sees them. Instead she has nasty nightmares that the end of the world is near although she thinks it is a psychological fear of growing old and no longer able to win the Miss Nebraska beauty pageant. When a meteorite crashes nearby, the townsfolk believe the end has started while Bernie introduces Tyler to a local astronomy club who believe aliens are remaking the world in their image.

    This fast-paced science fiction thriller hooks readers from the opening scene when Tyler swears he saw a strange looking essence in the backseat of the car and never slows down although the end seems somewhat less exhilarating than anticipated with the build up. Anna and Tyler are fascinating protagonists as she fears aging and he never recovered from his older brother vanishing years ago. However, ironically in spite of being the leads, neither holds the plot together; instead the town of Wormwood with its isolation serves as the focus. Fans will enjoy David Oppegaard's entertaining thriller as meth labs meet ET.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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