Booksmith Presents: John Darnielle / Universal Harvester
Bestselling author of Wolf in White Van John Darnielle visits the Booksmith to celebrate the publication of his second novel, Universal Harvester.
Jeremy works at the Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa -- a small town in the center of the state, the first a in Nevada pronounced ay. This is the late 1990s, and while the Hollywood Video in Ames poses an existential threat to Video Hut, there are still regular customers, a rush in the late afternoon. Its good enough for Jeremy: Its a job, quiet and predictable, and it gets him out of the house, where he lives with his dad and where they both try to avoid missing Mom, who died six years ago in a car wreck.
But when a local schoolteacher comes in to return her copy of Targets -- an old movie, starring Boris Karloff, one Jeremy himself had ordered for the storeshe has an odd complaint: Theres something on it, she says, but doesnt elaborate. Two days later, a different customer returns Shes All That, a new release, and complains that theres something wrong with it: Theres another movie on this tape.
Jeremy doesnt want to be curious. But he takes a look and, indeed, in the middle of the movie the screen blinks dark for a moment and Shes All That is replaced by a black-and-white scene, shot in a barn, with only the faint sounds of someone breathing. Four minutes later, Shes All That is back. But there is something profoundly unsettling about that scene; Jeremys compelled to watch it three or four times. The scenes recorded onto Targets are similar, undoubtedly created by the same hand. Creepy. And the barn looks much like a barn just outside of town.
There will be no ignoring the disturbing scenes on the videos. And all of a sudden, what had once been the placid, regular old Iowa fields and farmhouses now feels haunted and threatening, imbued with loss and instability and profound foreboding. For Jeremy, and all those around him, life will never be the same . . .
John Darnielles first novel, Wolf in White Van, was a New York Times bestseller, National Book Award nominee, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction, and widely hailed as one of the best novels of the year. He is the writer, composer, guitarist, and vocalist for the band the Mountain Goats. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife and sons.
Ticket price includes a copy of Universale Harvester. Tickets must be purchased in advance to attend the reading or participate in the signing. Pick up your book at the event.
Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable for any reason.
The Booksmith (View)
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San Francisco, CA 94117
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