Miss Entropia and the Adam Bomb
No other obsession strikes as hard as the love that hits a teenaged boy — especially if he’s the sort of kid who is no saner than he wants to be. From the moment Adam Webb sees Francine Haggard—in the van that is supposed to return them to the Institute Loiseaux—the two young mental patients are inextricably connected. Adam will never let this girl go.
From hiding her in his bedroom to spiriting her away to Minnesota’s north woods, “Miss Entropia” becomes the focus of Adam’s every thought and of everything he does. He believes her to be a goddess, his own goddess.
But the pyromaniacal Miss Entropia will be neither worshiped nor owned. And so Adam’s possessiveness is destined to push her to the breaking point.
Theirs is an incendiary love story, an unbalanced Romeo and Juliet, that spins and arcs its way strangely toward tragedy.
Read an excerpt:
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about to make the leap from quirky childhood to fully unleashed adolescence. Out on our porch stoop, waiting for the van, I’d felt the breeze of liberation for the first time in the two months I’d been home. They were coming to take me away, and I was exceedingly glad. Yes, goodbye, Mom, good-bye, Dad, good-bye, Iris, good-bye, Ted, I’m off to Institute Loiseaux. Better known as a home for the cleverly complicated. It’s not a place for everybody. The entrance requirements are rigorous. It takes more than being challenged in the conventional ways, reality-warped, emotionally stunted, mentally fevered, attention-deficient. You gotta be cute to get into Loiseaux. No bobbing heads here, no fatties, droolers, spitters, or snifflers. No predators, delinquents, bullies, tweakers, juicers, or tokers allowed, no matter how delightfully odd.
It does help if you’re an affluent exotic, a mass of psychic knots, a tangle of phobias and compulsions backed by a trust fund. Then even the suicidal and the homicidal are welcome. Hippies and goons, poets and anorexics, twitchers, Touretters, and the vaguely traumatized are all hugged close to Dr. Clara Loiseaux’s pillowy bosom, feeling the warm embrace of the maternal healer, inhaling her distinctive scent of rose petals and licorice.
I rolled down the window, and the whir of tires on the pavement brought back the sound of my trike when I was six, yes, a three-wheeler because I was not blessed with even a minimal sense of balance. After trying training wheels on a regular bike, all geared up with knee and elbow pads and a helmet to protect me in my frequent tumbles, I was given an overgrown child’s contraption with balloon tires and heavy-duty hand brakes. No matter. Rocinante, as Mother named my conveyance, flew like the wind, responding to my frantic pedaling on the uphills, then back, feet out, legs splayed like wings, caroming on the downgrades. Swaddled in heavy corduroy pants and a sweatshirt, I could feel the wind blowing on my face and hear the hum of rubber on asphalt singing in my head. In the years since, I’ve never been able to recapture that sweet momentum, the sensation of rushing so fast that a slight bump on the road would lift me and Rocinante off the ground into a frictionless surface of pure air.
Armed with 500 hours of interviews on cassettes and his own ingenuity, Lockwood must piece together the missing gaps in the singer’s life. Out to thwart the writer’s claim on the Señora’s story are her former agent, Hollywood Hank, and best selling bio-sleezer Alonzo Baylor.
The Wonder Singer takes shape as a book-within-a-book and sweeps Lockwood along the dizzying chronology of the diva’s life, beginning with the card game in which her father loses her to Pep Saval, the rustic showman who becomes her mentor, father-figure, and seducer. Along the way, we follow her survival during the Spanish Civil War, her marriage to a philandering tenor, and her love affair with an exiled prince.
Lockwood is aided in his deadline race by a colorful set of characters, including a beautiful nurse specializing in deathbed cases; Orson LaPrima, worshipful opera buff; and Nolan Keefe, Mercé’s husband exiled to the exclusive Villa Age D’Or, and who may or may not have secrets to reveal.
In this contemporary caper Lockwood sorts through the rich, contradictory, and sometimes dark details of a grand, dramatic life. In the process he discovers that the lesson of Casals’ life is about finding a purpose and a voice for the stories that must be told.
Praise for The Wonder Singer:
“…thus, evolves a novel which is fun, serious, and akin to a comic opera! A wonder of a book within a book.” -- Midwest Book Review “Through it all, the Wonder Singer holds her fans, and readers, in thrall with a tale that incorporates all of life's notes, the high and the low.” -- Minneapolis Star Tribune “George Rabasa's third novel, "The Wonder Singer," is a gem. Sophisticated structurally and thematically, "The Wonder Singer" is also somehow humble, a quick read that, with its clear prose and impeccable pacing, seduces us into plot. It is no Alonzo Baylor potboiler. Instead, like a great aria, it stays with you.” -- Cleveland Plain Dealer “…crafted in a crisp narrative, Rabasa’s latest work is a pure joy for the reader’s senses.” -- Metro Spirit “Readers not only learn about the Spanish civil war and the training regimen of the operatic voice but are also offered a glimpse into the soul of a writer honing his craft. Recommended…” -- Library Journal “Rabasa (The Cleansing, 2006) includes vivid scenes from the Spanish civil war (a significant event in Merce’s young life), but his novel is at heart an engaging exploration of the power of art, as seen through Merce’s famed career and Lockwood’s desire to act as her voice.” — Michele Leber Booklist
What happens when the former friend reappears twenty years later, a cancer patient in the doctor’s pathology lab, shows that none of us can escape our secrets.
Flashing between the post-9/11 U.S. and 1980s Mexico, The Cleansing details a love triangle, or diamond, if you will. Adelle, a fearless American photojournalist, attracts both Paul and Victor, and the three become uneasy friends. Mexico City itself is the fourth player in this game, beautiful and decadent, urban and cosmopolitan, torn between policia and narcos, with the division not as clear as the expatriates first think.
The Cleansing is about a reckoning of moral culpability in a corrupt setting.
No matter our excuses, the past will come to find us.
"Fallen Coconuts and Dead Fish," story, Green Hills.
"Ask Señor Totol," story, Hayden’s Ferry.
"Hay Soos Saves," story, North Dakota Quarterly.
"For the Solitary Soul," story, South Carolina Review.
"Three Incidents in the Early Life of El Perro," story, Atlanta Review.