The Washington Post "[G]randly ambitious... another masterpiece... this genre includes some of the greatest novels of our time, from Pynchon's V. to David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest . That's the troupe Larsen has decided to join, and I Am Radar is a dazzling performance." The moment just before Radar Radmanovic is born, all of the hospital's electricity mysteriously fails. The delivery takes place in total darkness. Lights back on, the staff sees a healthy baby boy-with pitch-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," the ancient physician says by way of explanation. "Some shrapnel is inevitable, isn't it?" A kaleidoscopic novel both heartbreaking and dazzling, Reif Larsen's I Am Radar begins with Radar's perplexing birth but rapidly explodes outward, carrying readers across the globe and throughout history, as well as to unknown regions where radio waves and subatomic particles dance to their own design. Spanning this extraordinary range with grace and empathy, humor and courage, I Am Radar is the vessel where a century of conflict and art unite in a mesmerizing narrative whole. Deep in arctic Norway, a cadre of Norwegian schoolteachers is imprisoned during the Second World War. Founding a radical secret society that will hover on the margins of recorded history for decades to come, these schoolteachers steal radioactive material from a hidden Nazi nuclear reactor and use it to stage a surreal art performance on a frozen coastline. This strange society appears again in the aftermath of Cambodia's murderous Khmer Rouge regime, when another secret performance takes place but goes horrifically wrong. Echoes of this disaster can be heard during the Yugoslavian wars, when an avant-garde puppeteer finds himself trapped inside Belgrade while his brother serves in the genocidal militia that attacks Srebrenica. Decades later, in the war-torn Congo, a disfigured literature professor assembles the largest library in the world even as the country around him collapses. 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. As I Am Radar accelerates toward its unforgettable conclusion, these divergent strands slowly begin to converge, revealing that beneath our apparent differences, unseen harmonies secretly unite our lives. Drawing on the furthest reaches of quantum physics, forgotten history, and mind-bending art, Larsen's I Am Radar is a triumph of storytelling at its most primal, elegant, and epic: a breathtaking journey through humanity's darkest hours only to arrive at a place of shocking wonder and redemption. Cleveland Plain-Dealer "Larsen's is an extraordinarily lush and verdant imagination, blooming wildly on the borders of the absurd and the riotous, the surreal and the ordinary...Quite unlike any [novel] I've read in a long time. One doesn't consume it; one enters it, as part of a literary enactment... Brilliant...The effort is well-rewarded: It is both maddening and marvelous...I can't wait to see what he pulls off next."
The Los Angeles Times: " [B]ig, beautiful, ambitious ... Radical physicist puppeteers? 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 ... It's a worthy endeavor that Larsen, who could apply his gorgeous prose to more comfortable literary fictions, is engaging with distant and unfamiliar cultures... the book is striving for something stronger, and Larsen's ceaselessly lovely prose is matched by his many ambitions ." The Washington Post "The promise shown in [Larsen's] first novel is more than fulfilled in the grandly ambitious I AM RADAR, another masterpiece of geekhood...If Larsen's debut looked like a Donald Barthelme assemblage, this one resembles something by Thomas Pynchon...Larsen's brainy book is no ephemeral performance piece. He grapples with time-honored questions of free will, predestination, man vs. nature and the tensions between parents and children. But it's the ingenuity with which he does so, rather than the themes themselves, that elicits admiration...I AM RADAR is a dazzling performance." The New York Times Book Review: "Set aside for the moment the black baby born to white parents, the avant-garde puppeteers and the quantum physics that swirl around the whole kit and caboodle. The most interesting fact of Reif Larsen's 600-plus-page novel, I Am Radar , is that it reads lke something far more compact that its bulk might suggest. There are maps, diagrams and pictures (e.g., an elephant plummeting from a bridge, a Cambodian prisoner of the Khmer Rouge) that remind one of the visual arrangements in W.G. Sebald's novels . There there is a deeply patterened 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... I Am Radar is as easy to enjoy for its swaggering tragicomic spirit as it is to admire for its celestrial ambition ." Boston Globe: " Chameleonic, ambitious, epic, fantastical, whimsical, thought-provoking, arcane, philosophical, exhaustive, and completely bonkers ... It's an estimable, and completely insane idea that has all the hallmarks of a film by Michel Gondry or Jean-Pierre Jeunet , who incidentally also directed the equally dazzling movie adaptation of T.S. Spivet ... Larsen's fare is unquestionably one of the more adventurous entries into the literary landscape , and his skill and flair for quirky, innovative works that cross over into the historical and the literary will always have an admiring... audience. It's a performance, that's for sure, and Larsen is a keen player." Cleveland Plain-Dealer " Larsen's is an extraordinarily lush and verdant imagination, blooming wildly on the borders of the absurd and the riotous, the surreal and the ordinary ...Quite unlike any [novel] I've read in a long time. One doesn't consume it; one enters it, as part of a literary enactment ... Brilliant ...The effort is well-rewarded: It is both maddening and marvelous... I can't wait to see what he pulls off next ." Shelf Awareness: " A story of Homeric proportions ... It's a wild ride with an unconventional structure and enormous cast of unforgettable characters. Larsen's prose is straightforward and bold, full of sparkling phrases... Wise yet unpretentious, both broad and deep, I Am Radar will slake the most unquenchable thirst for storytelling and open the reader's eyes to new possibilities in fiction ." The A.V. Club: " [S]prawling, epic ... the result is impressive and a little bit wondrous . In a way, the reader becomes part of the story, becoming aware of the observer's affect on the observed... It's an astonishing conceit." Flavorwire: "Large, robust, even intimidating: I Am Radar is never a laborious read. Sentence to sentence, the reader will find small gems ("How intimate, to trace a person's geography") and beautiful descriptions of typically ugly p
Reif Larsen, geb. 1981, lebt in Brooklyn, USA. Er schreibt, macht Dokumentarfilme und unterrichtet an der Columbia University.