Callisto: A Novel

Callisto: A Novel

by Torsten Krol


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061672941
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/17/2009
Series: P.S. Series
Edition description: Original
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 5.34(w) x 7.98(h) x 1.13(d)

About the Author

Torsten Krol is the author of Callisto. Nothing further is known about him.

What People are Saying About This

Adam Davies

Callisto is an absolute joy and a rare pleasure. A work of stark raving genius. Imagine a collaboration by Sinclair Lewis, John Kennedy Toole, and Stephen Colbert—but funnier.”

John Barlow

Callisto is wickedly well-plotted and just plain funny... Deefus is an extraordinary a grown-up Holden Caulfield in a crueler, more dangerous world.”

Customer Reviews

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Callisto 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
nbmars on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Callisto is the story of Odell Deefus, a Forrest Gump type fellow whose life turns out more like you would expect for someone ¿who¿s not the sharpest tool in the shed.¿ Instead of the fairy tale cascade of happy accidents that happened to Gump, for Deefus there is instead a nightmarish spiral of darkly evil developments. The book is intended as a black comedy/satire, but the cruelty exhibited toward Deefus can be discouraging and depressing. Deefus serves as a foil for Krol to expose the inanity of the Bush Era, from the hypocrisy of the religious right to the encouragement of torture at Abu Ghraib, to the invasion of everyone¿s privacy by a plethora of self-important government agencies. Deefus ¿ twenty-one years old, simplistic, good-hearted, gullible, and slow to catch on to a bad situation, sets out for an Army enlistment office in Callisto, Kansas. His car breaks down, and he has the bad luck to ask for help at the home of Dean Lowry, a drug dealer with possible Muslim affiliations, possible homosexual tendencies, and a big open grave sitting all ready in his back yard. Deefus¿s bad luck careens out of control, even as it is juxtaposed and opposed by implication to the fate of Gump. Both characters were able to attain a bit of peace and fulfillment from the simple job of mowing the lawn, and they both become deeply entangled with the government and its war. But whereas Gump becomes a hero, Deefus is thrown into the jaws of Hell. Some of it is very funny, such as the fact that Deefus carries a torch for Condoleeza Rice (and keeps her picture in his wallet). Some of it is over the top (would anyone really think Deuteronomy was "Jewteronomy" or that Revelations was "Revolutions"?). But most of it is an unfortunately sad-but-true look at the crueler side of the world. The writing in the Abu Ghraib/Guantanamo section is excellent. You can't help liking Deefus. But his story is reminiscent of the one the biologist Nicholas Tinbergen told about how strong fish will gang up and attack a weaker one. Do I recommend it? I'd have to say yes and no. If you, like my husband, loved the movie "Fargo" and thought it was full of biting wit and satire, you probably will like this book. If you, like me, liked some parts of "Fargo" and appreciated its art but thought that overall it was mean and depressing, you might try something else.
BookMason on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Very odd but thoroughly enjoyable tale of the wrong dumb guy in the wrong place. A farce about America in the 2000s that rings true more often then not. OdellDeefus is a brilliant character, though not so brilliant himself, and his stumble through crime, terrorism and the criminal justice system doesn't seem that far from reality. Those who like Chuck Palhaniuk, John Lethem and their ilk should give Krol a try, unless you are a George Bush supporting Republican, then you might want to stay very far away from this..
mojomomma on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Odell Deefus ends up in the middle of what becomes a national security nightmare that he has nothing to do with. He's not smart enough to do any of the things he's accused of, but in his Forrest Gump-like way, he is just charming enough and just lucky enough to get himself into and out of the awfullest scrapes I've ever care to read about. This book made me laugh out loud and squirm uncomfortably and skim pages carefully, scared of what might happen next. This book makes a powerful statement about the role of government in our post 9/11 society and the paranoia that leads us to find terrorists EVERYWHERE, even in the most unlikely places.
TadAD on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Torsten Krol (a nom de plume for a midwestern author who does not want to reveal his name) was extremely depressed about his recent divorce and decided to ...rectify my lamentable situation by pouring scorn on a target worthy of my ire. No, not my ex-wife¿George Bush and his attempt to carve himself a slice of history at the expense of ...just about everyone!"Right about now, you should be examining your political leanings to decide if this book is for you, because he ain't kidding about the pouring scorn part.Krol's story introduces us to Odell Deefus, a big, dumb hick who decides to enlist in the Army to fight against the "mad dog Islamites." On the way to the recruiting station, his car breaks down and he finds himself accidentally mixed up in a murder and not-so-accidentally involved with drug smuggling. These would be bad enough (if the police knew about them) but he is also mistaken for a terrorist by Homeland Security, deported to someplace suspiciously like Guantanamo where the expected things happen, and completely unable to contact the object of his major infatuation, Condaleezza Rice, to explain things. The whole thing becomes a giant, satirical look at a bureaucracy that distorts reality to conform to its beliefs.Wickedly pointed humor that's wickedly funny. I loved it.
Eudy_Knight More than 1 year ago
Great escapism with quirky characters and a twisty, turning plot. Fiction may be funnier, but this is a good ride inside a simple mind on an unusual trip.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Twenty-one year old Odell Deefus is enlisting in the army. However, the thirty years old car he drives to take him to the recruiting center from his home in Wyoming breaks down on a remote back road somewhere near Callisto, Kansas. The big dumb hick feels fortunate his heap expired by a home. He knocks and enters when no one responds. A few moments later Dean Lowry ask him what he is doing here. Dean does not get much friendlier implying Odell, with his black man's name, is a fool to want to fight the Jihadists in Iraq. However, Dean is not a Good Samaritan. He has studied Islam with a jihadist's fundamentalist attitude, been involved with his Aunt Bree's disappearance and is connected to a nasty sort named "Donnie Darko." When Odell accidentally kills Dean with a bat and finds Bree's corpse in the freezer, he calls the police. The FBI conducts a massive search while also blowing away his claim that Dean with someone named Darko was plotting homeland terrorism; instead they assume he is the key member of a home grown terrorist cell and take him to the tropics for interrogation. This is an engaging wild look at the Americanization of terrorism through the eyes of a naive "Yearling". Odell, with his innocence and misunderstanding of subtly even those hammered into his face. He keeps the tale going as he is engulfed by cynics starting with Dean, Lowry's sister and the Feds; even his worship from afar of Condoleezza Rice becomes tainted. Although the story line is action-packed and at times overwhelming, readers who appreciate a well written satirical thriller will appreciate Torsten Krol's indictment of the unnecessary loss of innocence as a result not of 9/11 and the subsequent waste of global good will, but both caused by the American reaction to 9/11. Harriet Klausner