Episode 60 — Kris Saknussemm


Kris Saknussemm is the guest.  His latest novel, Reverend America, is now available from Dark Coast Press.  And the soundtrack to the book is now available at iTunes.

From Booklist:

Once upon a time, Mathias Gaspenny was a child preacher and faith healer who captivated audiences across the country. Now, much older and wiser, he’s come home to Joplin, Missouri, hoping to live out the remainder of his life in quiet reflection. But a chance meeting with a teenage prostitute sets him on a new and unexpected road, and, as he searches for salvation, he replays his life in memory. Reverend America is almost pure character study, the story of Casper, a man we come to know gradually, as the events of his past life constantly change our perceptions of him. At various times funny, bittersweet, tragic, and terrifying, the book and its central character are sympathetic and memorable.

And Shelf Awareness, in a starred review, raves:

A picaresque tale of a prodigy albino orphan crisscrossing the country to heal a big tent of weird but heart-warming losers. The best road trip is enlightening and redemptive. Reverend America gives us a damn good one.

Great to have Kris on the show.

Topics of conversation include: mysteries, strangeness, Black Mountain Institute, Las Vegas, bail bonds, hookers, Seattle, Berkeley, preachers, abuse, trauma, gambling, evangelism, Boston W. Smith, 10th Mountain Division, violin, hand injuries, Oberlin College, 1960s California, hippies, counterculture, Esalen, Big Sur, neglect, drugs, alcohol, grand theft auto, breaking and entering, sports, embalming fluid, PCP, Dartmouth, New England, medicine, psychiatric hospitals, house-sitting, parties, badminton, arts grants, scams, manic psychotic breakdowns, sex with strangers, Melbourne, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, divorce, cocaine, advertising, repatriation, Eric Wyatt, and avant-garde theater.

Monologue topics:  tequila, grocery-shopping, The Flaming Lips, biker chicks, shopping sprees, hydration, and Bank of America.