ALL THOSE VANISHED ENGINES
Park’s compressed, tripartite account folds in real Civil War and family history, actual books and art projects, along with Martian invasions, ghosts, mysteries and incidents from his own work. The result probably shouldn’t work quite as well as it does, but even as the narrative pretzels in on itself and you’re not quite sure what’s happened, the emotional tone — wry, elegiac, self-lacerating — stays consistent and compelling. A vivid and puzzling book, All Those Vanished Engines is one you’ll want to return to.
In a world where the Civil War ended with two states, the heir to one half of the United States has been kidnapped — or rescued — and a secret project to craft sound on an industrial level proceeds apace, and the search for truth and meaning in a world driven to ruin by pandemics (or aliens, or both) is ongoing. All these things, and more, swirl around the Park family, as the stories they tell in their books and their lives add more layers to the labyrinth of their shared history. Those narratives might even be able to warp time itself. (TOR, Jul., 304 pp., $25.99)