Déjà Vu

$15 (paper)
353 pages


Alden Homer and Blake Whitman, the main characters in Déjà Vu, are traveling their own paths, which seem to cross more frequently than usual for two dissimilar guys on the road in Asia. Their thoughts and experiences are the pieces of jigsaw puzzle that the reader can assemble. In this age of technological innovation and interaction, this seminal work allows the reader to actively participate in the construction of the narrative, following the characters, settings, and/or themes of his or her choice.

Alden, who experimented with drugs during his Ivy League days, is now in his 50s. He has passed through Wall Street and sacrificed a marriage to his literary aspirations. Searching for the Muse, he'll settle for enlightenment.

Blake, the narrator, is taking a year off before medical school, and is enthusiastically seeking the adventure he could only read about - or see in the movies - back home in Middle America. He chases the Exotic.

Independently or together, these two colorful characters encounter a nymphomaniac, a murder victim, Christian fundamentalists, Hindu holy men, inmates at a mental institution, and a yeti - not to mention their own dreams.

Richard Kendrick has spent more than a decade living and traveling in Africa and Asia. He has worked as a teacher, an editor, directed several short films, and is now poised to become one of the essential writers of the 21st century.

Déjà Vu is full of lyrical descriptions of far off lands yet hits home with absolute poignance; it presents the world in a prism of adventure and experimentation, so much so that it reminds one of the enduring spirit of American literature. Kendrick revives Melville, Twain, and Kerouac in a voice that openly rejects the conventions of today, even as it demands fresh perspective. The book is essentially a search for truth; its form is unique and inventive, based upon the cyclical nature of time, subjectivity and the concept of fulfillment. I recommend it to everyone tired of the monotony of an everyday performance without avail, to you who lust for travel!
-- Lucas Hunt, author of Lives

A rare book that combines modernist formal experimentation with excellent post-modernist content and prose; this novel is as much about form as it is about plot. Part bildungsroman part travelogue, both funny and serious, a blend of facts, fictions, and dreams; Déjà Vu . . . risks comparison with novels like Cortazar's Hopscotch and Perec's Life: a User's Manual (I generally don't like to use the word "risk" in art criticism, but I think it's appropriate here) and I think it stands up very well. Saying that I actually preferred this to either of them would sound pretentious; but I'll go so far as to say that the content of this novel is more to my liking than that of the others.
-- Rick Russo