The crux of this book is that a Brazilian librarian recruits a team to find the unpublished works of his favorite science fiction writer, Eduard Salgado-Mackenzie. The other two people on this team are Mormons, one a professional historian excommunicated for her academic work and the other a scammed aspiring novelist. The utter absurdity of their quest and their dedication to it worked for me because I could totally see my fellow Mormons doing something like this. That classic Mormon optimism, the desire to help others on their quests, the value we place on personal and historical records gives literary ephemera a certain spiritual value. It was hilarious. I wish the author would have embraced the comedy a little more instead of focusing on Eduard Saldago-Mackenzie’s works having a spiritual power to them. I thought that was just weird, but eh, different tropes for different folks, right?
I loved the multicultural blend of the novel and how the Mormon aspect allows rural Idaho and urban Brazil to blend all together in an organic way that is both fascinating and almost magical. I also loved the story behind the author Eduard Saldago-MacKenzie. Again, hilarious and unexpected twist in the plot but suddenly the entire convoluted mystery makes sense.
So, in the course of the book they end up finding the papers of Edward Saldago-Mackenzie and the manuscript of an unfinished novel. The book includes 154 pages of this pulpy science fiction masterpiece in the last act of the book. I excused myself from reading it and skipped to the afterward. Some people might enjoy reading the spoils of the search, however, I was only interested in the journey. Ultimately, a strange but rewarding read for me. I’m glad I took the risk and read it.