Prescription for a Superior Existence

 
9780007592883: Prescription for a Superior Existence

'A major-league prose writer who has fun in every sentence' Jonathan Franzen 'A clever speculative tale set against a backdrop of contemporary environmental and political threats' The New York Times Jack Smith's life revolves around work, alcohol, painkillers, and pornography, and he sees no reason to change. But when he falls in love with the daughter of the leader of a new Californian religion known as Prescription for a Superior Existence, his humdrum life is changed forever. Abducted and enrolled at one of PASE's spiritual training centres near San Francisco, Jack's scepticism is challenged by a sense of community and purpose previously unknown to him. He discovers that he might not be average. He might be extraordinary. But nothing is as it seems, and the question of whether he and those around him are headed toward transcendence or annihilation soon takes on global significance.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Born in 1973, Josh Emmons was raised in Northern California and received an MFA and teaching fellowship from the University of Iowa. His debut novel The Loss of Leon Meed won the James Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award in 2005. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

In this part of the world it is light for half the year and dark the other half. Sometimes at night I look at the halos around the window blinds and breathe in salty air redolent of afternoon trips to the beach I took as a boy, my hands enclosed in my parents', my feet leaving collapsed imprints in the sand, my mind a whirl of whitewashed images. I remember how the shaded bodies lying under candy-cane umbrellas groped for one another, and how I pulled my mother and father toward the ice-cream vendors, and how I fell in love with the girls who slouched beside their crumbling sandcastles. The sun an unblinking eye on our actions. The waves forever trying to reach us. From the beginning there was so much longing, and from the beginning I could hardly bear it.

I used to think that with enough scrutiny I would discover a moment to explain what happened later. Not anymore. Now the idea that a Big Bang in my youth caused the events that have sent me here -- or that with enough focus I could recall the incident, like an amnesiac witness during cross-examination recollecting how and where and by whom a murder was committed -- seems absurd. Now I know that I was always on a collision course with Prescription for a Superior Existence, that it couldn't have been otherwise.

To pass time I walk around this nightbright Scandinavian village, past seafood grottos and tackle and bait shops and thatched Viking ruins with pockmarked, briny walls blanched the color of dead fish. Bjorn Bjornson, a cod oil wholesaler who joins me sometimes in order to practice his English, though it is already better than most Americans', says that the village has changed radically since he was young, noting that the citizens didn't have cellular phones, personal audio devices, satellite receivers, or sustainable fishing laws, that as always in the past many indispensable things did not exist.

He imagines that growing up in California I witnessed even more incredible developments. "Your state is rushing ahead of everywhere else," he says. "In Europe the conviction is that this is terrible, and we are expected to fear and disdain it. But I have met your countrymen and seen your films and read your literature, and I want to visit to make up my own mind. Consensus is sometimes no more than shared folly."

Given more time in each other's company, Bjorn and I might become friends. He is a patient, thoughtful man who considers every angle of a problem without being paralyzed by indecision. If it weren't dangerous, if information didn't travel so quickly and unpredictably, I would explain to him why I'm here and ask for his advice; instead I've told him I'm a tourist, come to take pictures of the glaciated fjords before they disappear.

And so I have to decide without his or anyone else's counsel if the past month, and before that all of history, justifies my presence in a remote northern village where it has been decreed that at midnight on Sunday I will, after delivering a eulogy that is both inspirational and absolute, with a solemnity great enough for the occasion, conduct and preside over -- I am choosing my words carefully and none other will do -- the end of the world.

This is as strange for me to say as it must be to hear, and I should add that I'm not yet certain that the end is coming; it could be a grand deception, or sincerely but wrongly delineated, like the edges of the world on a fifteenth-century map. There are compelling arguments for and against each possibility, and I change my mind about them so often that on Sunday, instead of having discovered the truth, I may be as confused as a pilot with spatial disorientation, in danger of mistaking a graveyard spiral for a safe landing, when up is really down, sky is really earth, and life -- suddenly and irreversibly -- is really death.

Copyright © 2008 by Josh Emmons

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Emmons, Josh
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2015)
ISBN 10: 0007592884 ISBN 13: 9780007592883
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 197 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A major-league prose writer who has fun in every sentence Jonathan Franzen A clever speculative tale set against a backdrop of contemporary environmental and political threats The New York Times Jack Smith s life revolves around work, alcohol, painkillers, and pornography, and he sees no reason to change. But when he falls in love with the daughter of the leader of a new Californian religion known as Prescription for a Superior Existence, his humdrum life is changed forever. Abducted and enrolled at one of PASE s spiritual training centres near San Francisco, Jack s scepticism is challenged by a sense of community and purpose previously unknown to him. He discovers that he might not be average. He might be extraordinary. But nothing is as it seems, and the question of whether he and those around him are headed toward transcendence or annihilation soon takes on global significance. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007592883

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.67
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Emmons, Josh
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2015)
ISBN 10: 0007592884 ISBN 13: 9780007592883
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 197 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A major-league prose writer who has fun in every sentence Jonathan Franzen A clever speculative tale set against a backdrop of contemporary environmental and political threats The New York Times Jack Smith s life revolves around work, alcohol, painkillers, and pornography, and he sees no reason to change. But when he falls in love with the daughter of the leader of a new Californian religion known as Prescription for a Superior Existence, his humdrum life is changed forever. Abducted and enrolled at one of PASE s spiritual training centres near San Francisco, Jack s scepticism is challenged by a sense of community and purpose previously unknown to him. He discovers that he might not be average. He might be extraordinary. But nothing is as it seems, and the question of whether he and those around him are headed toward transcendence or annihilation soon takes on global significance. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007592883

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 9.42
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Emmons, Josh
Published by The Friday Project (2015)
ISBN 10: 0007592884 ISBN 13: 9780007592883
New Paperback Quantity Available: 5
Seller
W2Books
(Hereford, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description The Friday Project, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. A new, unread, unused book in perfect condition with no missing or damaged pages. Shipped from UK. Orders will be dispatched within 48 hours of receiving your order. Orders are dispatched Monday â" Friday. FREE Returns service (for UK customers) for books upto 2kg please contact us for details. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000113088

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 2.24
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.36
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Emmons, Josh
ISBN 10: 0007592884 ISBN 13: 9780007592883
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller
BWB
(Valley Stream, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Bookseller Inventory # 97800075928830000000

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 9.62
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Emmons, Josh
Published by The Friday Project (2015)
ISBN 10: 0007592884 ISBN 13: 9780007592883
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller
HALCYON BOOKS
(LONDON, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description The Friday Project, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. DISPATCHED FROM THE UK WITHIN 24 HOURS ( BOOKS ORDERED OVER THE WEEKEND DISPATCHED ON MONDAY) BY ROYAL MAIL. ALL OVERSEAS ORDERS SENT BY AIR MAIL. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000421273

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 1.85
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.97
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Emmons, Josh
ISBN 10: 0007592884 ISBN 13: 9780007592883
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Grand Eagle Retail
(Wilmington, DE, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 200mm x 130mm x. Paperback. 'A major-league prose writer who has fun in every sentence' Jonathan Franzen 'A clever speculative tale set against a backdrop of contemporary environmental and political threats' The New .Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 304 pages. 0.178. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007592883

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 10.90
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Emmons, Josh
Published by HarperCollins Publishers (2015)
ISBN 10: 0007592884 ISBN 13: 9780007592883
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2015. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # FC-9780007592883

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 4.76
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.03
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Emmons, Josh
Published by Harpercollins Publishers (2015)
ISBN 10: 0007592884 ISBN 13: 9780007592883
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harpercollins Publishers, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 304 pages. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # __0007592884

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 9.59
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.36
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Emmons, Josh
Published by HARPER COLLINS (2015)
ISBN 10: 0007592884 ISBN 13: 9780007592883
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Herb Tandree Philosophy Books
(Stroud, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HARPER COLLINS, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: NEW. 9780007592883 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. Bookseller Inventory # HTANDREE0984197

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 12.63
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.86
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Emmons, Josh
ISBN 10: 0007592884 ISBN 13: 9780007592883
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
AussieBookSeller
(SILVERWATER, NSW, Australia)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 200mm x 130mm x. Paperback. 'A major-league prose writer who has fun in every sentence' Jonathan Franzen 'A clever speculative tale set against a backdrop of contemporary environmental and political thre.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 304 pages. 0.178. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007592883

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 12.22
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 28.00
From Australia to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds