A quirky, comical and provocative novel? complete with robotic flying chickens.
Following a dramatic break-up with his long-suffering wife, Jack Vesoovian retreats to a Hamilton rooming house, where he impulsively decides to take to the road to track down his life-long colleague, Petronius Totem.
Petronius Totem has disappeared following the unlikely success of his memoir, Ten Thousand Busted Chunks, praised for its searing honesty. But when it is discovered to be a pack of lies, Petronius Totem becomes universally despised.
Meanwhile, Jack faces another grim truth: the world is being taken over by a sinister multi-national Fibre-Optic Catering business that has created a chicken-like food matter than can actually fly. Can he and Petronius Totem escape into a virtual future that is free of ChickLit and flying fibre-optic chickens? Or will Jack return home to his wife Elaine whom it seems, with good reason, will shoot him on sight?
Searching for Petronius Totem is a love story for the age: a wild, imaginative, and utterly original novel.
About the author
Peter Unwin was born in Sheffield, England, and raised in Southern Ontario. He studied at Carleton University in Ottawa. His fiction includes the short story collection The Rock Farmers, which was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, and the novel Nine Bells for a Man. His non-fiction includes The Wolf’s Head: Writing Lake Superior and Hard Surface: In Search of the Canadian Road. He has travelled extensively in the Canadian north. Currently, he is a Master’s candidate in Culture and Communications at York and Ryerson universities. An avid practitioner of martial arts, baseball, and literature, he lives in Toronto with his wife and two daughters.
"[A] coruscating, frustrating, and sometimes blisteringly funny evisceration of sacred cows in the realms of digital technology, identity politics, and CanLit. . . a scabrous, gleefully offensive, high-energy ride across a landscape that looks oddly familiar, but is viewed at an oblique angle and through a purposefully distorted lens." -- Quill and Quire
"[A] coruscating, frustrating, and sometimes blisteringly funny evisceration of sacred cows in the realms of digital technology, identity politics, and CanLit. . . a scabrous, gleefully offensive, high-energy ride across a landscape that looks oddly familiar, but is viewed at an oblique angle and through a purposefully distorted lens." — Quill and Quire
Attack of the Cyber Chickens... Or is it Love?Well now. This was one of the more interesting books I have read in a while. Hard to know what to make of it.
Peter Unwin has written a novel full of cyber chickens, deadbeat poets/writers, and a whole melange of interesting tidbits. While each new generation of fibre optic chicken gets closer and closer to hitting the mark of Jack Vesoovian (due to his dubious association with Petronius Totem) it also brings Jack closer to a new understanding of what is truly important in his life. The womanizing and poetizing has been fun, and is ever tempting, but the more crazy life gets, the more Jack realizes that all he really needs in life is his beloved (and slightly psychotic) Elaine and the kids.
The world is racing and changing around him—Pete Tidecaster to Petronius, reality to cyber reality—but does any of that really matter when love is on the line? In the end, I'm not really sure, but I suspect so. It would seem that beat poets aside, love really does leave its mark, even if it is from a bullet hole.
Thank you to Kelsey at Freehand Books, care of a giveaway at 49th Shelf, for sending me a copy of this book. It certainly was a "wild ride of a novel". I'll probably ponder some of the inner meanings for a while to come—Is Facebook killing our relationships? Does art belong to the creator or those who perceive it? What else did I miss in this book?