The Mysterious Bookshop

Larsen, Reif, I Am Radar: A Novel

“Big, beautiful, ambitious . . . It takes narrative magic to pull off such a loopy combination, and luckily, Reif Larsen has it to spare. His prose is addictive and enchanting.” —Los Angeles Times

The moment just before Radar Radmanovic is born, the hospital’s electricity fails. The delivery takes place in total darkness. Lights back on, everyone present sees a healthy baby boy—with jet-black skin—born to the stunned white parents. No one understands the uncanny electrical event or the unexpected skin color. “A childbirth is an explosion,” an ancient physician explains. “Some shrapnel is inevitable, isn’t it?”

A kaleidoscopic novel both heartbreaking and dazzling, Reif Larsen’s I Am Radarrapidly explodes outward from Radar’s strange birth. In World War II Norway, a cadre of imprisoned schoolteachers founds a radical secret society that will hover on the margins of history for decades to come, performing acts of radical art and experimental science in the midst of conflict zones from embattled Bosnia to Khmer Rouge Cambodia and the contemporary Congo. All of these stories are linked by Radar—now a gifted radio operator living in the New Jersey Meadowlands—who struggles with love, a set of hapless parents, and a terrible medical affliction that he has only just begun to comprehend.

Drawing on the furthest reaches of quantum physics, forgotten history, and mind-bending art, Larsen’sI Am Radar is a triumph of storytelling at its most primal, elegant, and epic: a breathtaking journey through humanity’s darkest hours, yet one that arrives at a place of shocking wonder and redemption.

Praise for I Am Radar:
“A deeply patterned narrative that darts easily from small-bore domestic dramas to sweeping historical catastrophes with just the right fillip of silliness and levity to keep the whole text eminently ­approachable.” —The New York Times Book Review