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Demigods on Speedway
by Aurelie Sheehan
University of Arizona Press, 2014
Paper: 978-0-8165-3110-3 | eISBN: 978-0-8165-9862-5
Library of Congress Classification PS3569.H392155D46 2014
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.54

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Men in dinosaur suits. A Norwegian freakazoid millionaire. Cats and catharsis, somber symbols, listless lives going off the rails. Pluck, persistence, and the pursuit of happiness.

In the tradition of Joyce’s Dubliners, Demigods on Speedway is a portrait of a city that reflects the recession-era Southwest. Inspired by tales from Greek mythology, these gritty heroes and heroines struggle to find their place in the cosmos. Each of these linked stories develops the extremes of the modern psyche: an executive struggling to understand his wife’s illness even as he compulsively cheats on her, a teenage runaway whose attraction to her “twin” is bound to fail, an overweight boy vicariously experiencing true love through the tales of his trainer, a car-wash attendant with outsized dreams of Hollywood.

Characters with mythical-sounding names like Dagfinn and Zero plot their courses through a sky riddled with flawed constellations. Sheehan’s edgy language aptly reveals her characters as they lurch toward the next day’s irreverent beginning. As the characters’ lives overlap, their stories carry mythology out of the past and into a very modern dilemma: the cumulative sense that here is a city with its own demigods, individuals struggling to survive under siege while passionately seeking to make something immortal in their lives.

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