This wild-eyed family saga spans centuries and continents, beginning in the 18th century in the Kingdom of Hungary and ending more than two centuries later in a futuristic L.A. Ultimately, Animal Magnet probes the notion of human-ness, human identity, and humanity.
A retelling of the Jacques the Anabaptist episode, from Voltaire's classic satire, Candide, Best of All Possible Worlds follows Jakob and Robrecht Onderdonk, two brothers living antithetical lives. Jakob, after abandoning life as a sailor, is on a quest to live a more edifying life on land, while Robrecht is determined to fully embrace a sinful life at sea. Like Candide, Best of All Possible Worlds explores, with a comic air of irreverence and a witty dose of the absurd, the universal problem of evil in a world created by a perfect God.
The draw of Animal Magnet is its outlandish characters and its narrative structure. Essentially, the book is a series of short stories threaded together by the family connection. Each one has a different structure and a different voice. Anderson wields a letter, play, manuscript, newspaper article, as well as the traditional story format, to tell of each character's wild experience. And wild they are. Each section plumbs the depths of man's animal nature . . .
-Manhattan Book Review
Anderson is an adroit novelist with perhaps one of the most acute and unique senses of humor I've seen in print.
...raucous and terribly inventive... Is it Barth or Pynchon?
- David B. Lentz, author of Bloomsday
Reminiscent of John Barth’s Sotweed Factor – and equally accomplished, Gary Anderson’s Best of All Possible Worlds is a sustained comic delight. Masterful, outrageous, teeming with exotic incidents and characters, Anderson’s novel is a richly inventive elaboration of a small detail in Voltaire’s Candide.
Terry Bazes, author of Lizard World
Gary Anderson lives in central New Jersey with his wife and three kids. Animal Magnet is his first novel.