Townhouse Books

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mission to America: Walter Kirn

Mason isn't a Mormon, although he's often mistaken for one. He's a member of a small, matriarchal sect in Montana who is sent out on a mission to recruit new members, specifically potential mates for the young men of the group. Mission to America is the story of his travels through contemporary America, a foreign land with which his culture has had little contact since the late 1800s.

There's a lot about this book that is witty and insightful. I loved the "Aboriginal Fulfilled Apostles," with their coming of age Frolic ceremony and their ever-so-carefully calibrated dietary rules. American fast food cuisine wreaks havoc on the missionaries' digestion...

Where it falls short for me is in the geography. I just can't relate. The small town poverty and methamphetamine addiction translates across the country, I guess, but the Colorado ski resort where the missionaries end up attempting to convert a billionare with an irritable bowel? Not so much. Early in the novel Mason tries to convince his partner to head East. I think Kirn could have accomplished more with this novel if he sent his missionaries on a more wide-ranging journey.


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  • Interesting. What does this (fictional?) sect believe in?

    Sorry I haven't been posting. I'm still working on Cryptonomicon.

    By Blogger evt1618, at 1:32 PM  

  • Their system of beliefs is so kick-ass and random. It's pulled together from different religions, and interpreted by a matriarchal Seeress.

    By Blogger Anna, at 9:30 PM  

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