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Parasites Like Us

by Adam Johnson

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3271157,618 (3.41)10
The debut novel by the author of The Orphan Master's Son (winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize) and the story collection Fortune Smiles (winner of the 2015 National Book Award) Hailed as "remarkable" by the New Yorker, Emporium earned Adam Johnson comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut and T.C. Boyle. In his acclaimed first novel, Parasites Like Us, Johnson takes us on an enthralling journey through memory, time, and the cost of mankind's quest for its own past. Anthropologist Hank Hannah has just illegally exhumed an ancient American burial site and winds up in jail. But the law will soon be the least of his worries. For, buried beside the bones, a timeless menace awaits that will set the modern world back twelve thousand years and send Hannah on a quest to save that which is dearest to him. A brilliantly evocative apocalyptic adventure told with Adam Johnson's distinctive dark humor, Parasites Like Us is a thrilling tale of mankind on the brink of extinction.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
I got to page 124 of 341. As best as I can tell: Not SF. Not literature. And if these people are meant to be representative of humanity - I say good riddance to us; bring on the apocalypse.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Adam Johnson has won the The National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for his last 2 books. I enjoyed both of them and decided I wanted to read his earlier works. This book was his first novel. It deals with an anthropologist communicating with the future as he explains what happened to the world. The book is very creative and a bit absurdist. This combines with some great insights into our culture versus the ancient Clovis(native American) culture that died out. Johnson is an excellent writer and you can see the groundwork being laid for his future books. For people who have read his previous books, this is a worthwhile and entertaining read. It could have used some editing and does drag in certain parts. If you have not read any Johnson then proceed directly to "The Orphan Masters Son" and "Fortune Smiles. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Jan 7, 2016 |
what a crappy book. At every turn when you might expect a plot twist or something, anything, interesting you get instead the plot barreling ahead tracks laid out in the very beginning. ( )
  romanccm | Jun 25, 2014 |
Hank Hannah is an anthropologist working at The University of South Eastern South Dakota. He once wrote a book about the Clovis people, the first people to cross the Bering Strait to North America, and who were thought to have caused the extinction of 35 species of mammals. He is no longer held in such high esteem by his peers, having produced nothing of note since writing his book “The Depletionists”. He is supervising two anthropology students – Eggers is living in the style of the Clovis people for one year as part of his thesis. He eats the local wildlife (squirrels), wears animal hides and uses primitive tools. Trudy, the other student, is a strong woman who is a target for Hank’s latent lust.

Eggers discovers a grave of what appears to be a Clovis woman and in that grave are two clay balls, inside of which will be the future of the human race.

The reader knows from the start that humanity is about to suffer its own extinction, but it is a long wait before we get there. It takes about 150 pages before the disaster occurs, but those 150 pages are full of fun and games. Hank’s relationship with his father is interesting, his thoughts on his mother and his step-mother – both now gone – are quite moving; his friend Farley is a complex character and the policeman with his tribe of children provide some light relief. And then there is Julia, a paleobotanist from Russia with a past.

This book is a real romp. It is light and breezy and easy to read. Yes, there is a strong message within its pages, but rather than being a preachy book, it is fun and amusing. ( )
  judylou | Jun 20, 2014 |
Absolutely the best part of this story are the ideas in it - theories about early man (The Clovis) in North America. The main character here is an anthropology professor at a South Dakota University and one of his grad students makes an astounding discovery. Another student becomes involved with the action and discoveries. There are a lot of internal discussions and serious "mother" and "father" issues in here as well. The setting seems pretty unique as you read and there is a good cast of interesting well-realized characters.

The story takes a serious turn when the apocalypse hits. Not that we weren't warned because right at the beginning we are told that this is a look back at a gone world and how it happened. I'd say the book is uneven and doesn't rise to the great level but I really enjoyed it and kept turning the pages. It rambles and stumbles here and there and the internal dialogue is a bit much at times. I would have like a stronger finish. We are told bits of an adventurous journey to follow, almost like a sequel set-up. I would have liked a bit more here in this book.

The novel got me thinking about a lot of stuff. I was unaware that many scholars consider the Clovis people responsible for the extinction of 35 large mammal species in North America from Mammoths on down. Apparently only the bison and boars because of their large population numbers escaped their murderous ways in a relatively short period of time before the Clovis put themselves out of business by killing all the prey.

Johnson is an English professor at Stanford University and also won the Pulitzer prize earlier this year for The Orphan Master's Son. ( )
  RBeffa | Dec 28, 2013 |
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For my mother, Patricia, and her mother Lavina
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This story begins some years after the turn of the millennium, back when gangs were persecuted, back before we all joined one.
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The debut novel by the author of The Orphan Master's Son (winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize) and the story collection Fortune Smiles (winner of the 2015 National Book Award) Hailed as "remarkable" by the New Yorker, Emporium earned Adam Johnson comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut and T.C. Boyle. In his acclaimed first novel, Parasites Like Us, Johnson takes us on an enthralling journey through memory, time, and the cost of mankind's quest for its own past. Anthropologist Hank Hannah has just illegally exhumed an ancient American burial site and winds up in jail. But the law will soon be the least of his worries. For, buried beside the bones, a timeless menace awaits that will set the modern world back twelve thousand years and send Hannah on a quest to save that which is dearest to him. A brilliantly evocative apocalyptic adventure told with Adam Johnson's distinctive dark humor, Parasites Like Us is a thrilling tale of mankind on the brink of extinction.

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