Making the Ghost Dance
by David Kranes
Paperback / 224 pages / 1-56085-191-0 / $21.95
Objects easily appear and disappear in Peck’s hands, and so do people. “Into the void,” the young magician writes on a sheet of paper. “What’s supposed to happen doesn’t” and “What’s not supposed to happen does.” That’s all the sense he can make of life, and the uncertainty produces hilarious results. The “theory of failed expectations”—if you can’t control the outcome, then roll with it. And roll he does, all the way to Puerto Vallarta, Corfu, and Paris—letting life come to him rather than searching for the “divination of secrets.” In the end, he finds both.
“For the record, I am in this book and you are in this book. When they make the movie, it’s going to feature everybody. David Kranes writes from the marrow, and this novel is fierce and crammed with heart. It’s cerebral and cinematic, and if feels—like all of Kranes’ prose—like something new and something old. A man loves his life in the ways he can, and Peck’s ways are rich. I would say this book is about family and love and time. But it isn’t about something, it is something! If I were with you now, I’d put it in your hand. Wait, fortune, it has already appeared! So, now you’ll see what I mean.” —Ron Carlson, author of A Kind of Flying.
David Kranes is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Utah. His novels include Keno Runner and Margins; his short story, “Cordials,” won the 1996 Pushcart Prize, followed the next year by Low Tide in the Desert: Nevada Stories, which won the Western Heritage Award for Best Short Story. Two of his plays, Cantrell and Going In, were published in Best American Short Plays, 1987, and Horay won the CBS Playwrights Award. He served for fourteen years as artistic director of the Sundance Playwrights’ Lab.