Luminarium [Alex Shakar] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. “Heady and. James is never mentioned in Alex Shakar’s heady and engrossing new novel, “ Luminarium,” but he haunts the book, which grapples. Picture yourself stepping into a small, cuboid room. In the center squats an old recliner, upholstered in black vinyl.”.

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The total package of the novel didn’t do much to interest me. I sort of want to ouminarium what happens with George and with the Mira experiment but not enough to keep reading.

The audience for a cerebral, melancholy novel like this is unlikely to be large, but intrepid readers will be grateful for the challenge.


Fred’s out of body adventures, brought on by the “God helmet” electrodes, are ale to him in terms of the targeted stimulation of various lobes in his brain. Irritation is not something I expected to experience reading a book.

Do we really need the magic shows for parties that Fred’s washed-up-actor father, Vartan puts on with Fred’s help as a commentary on unreality? Fred, not surprisingly, is having a bit of an existential crisis.

A modern man, fairly atheistic, who is intelligent and has always put his faith in science and technology, hits rock bottom and turns to religion. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

I really liked Mira. Which brings us back to that second-person opening, our invitation. As Fred tries to make sense of his expanded senses, the product, we assume, of the lab experiments, we, along with Fred, have difficulty sorting out reality.

Fred has an identical twin brother, George, who is in a coma after a long battle with cancer. Set primarily in New York City, Luminarium follows Fred Brounian, a former co-CEO of a software company devoted to creating Utopian virtual worlds, as he copes with circumstances beyond his control.

Alex Shakar – Wikipedia

But the thing that separates Luminarium from other books that discuss avatars, virtual reality and luuminarium like is that Alex Shakar is committed throughout with trying, relentlessly, to flat-out shaar the meaning lu,inarium life.


At times during the book, it is difficult to see why everyone in modern America does not follow Fred’s path, descending down into our own rage and helplessness, our own sense that our dreams are at once unattainable and necessary, absolutely required and absolutely futile.

Without the ‘eat’ and short on the ‘love. Whether this is ales or just artificial remains to be discovered as the book continues. Here’s the fun part: The way we all move to the future while looking ever back to our past. The goal, in lyminarium sense, is to see if the benefits of spirituality peace, comfort, a sense of purpose can be attained without the mysticism of religion: Being his twin, Fred wants to keep him alive as much as he can, draining his savings, his income, up to the point that he becomes broke.

Fred’s younger brother Sam is a highly introverted dysfunctional computer programmer who always shakaf the same black outfit to work. Especially liked the parents, an elderly ex-dancer with a new calling as a Reiki practitioner, and an ex or sometimes actor now doing birthday party magic acts with his unemployed ex-millionaire son.

So that’s just the best scene to enter the bizarre: Oct 19, Leila rated it it was amazing. Practically, though, it’s little more lumijarium an existentialist allegory — and not a standout one. The online gaming business they built together has been effectively stolen from them by a large military contractor involved in the war on terror.

I mean, ultimately it really doesn’t matter where I end this review. Shakar was born in and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Dont be put off by the seemingly depressing or overly scientific subjects, it is moving and you will find yourself confronting lots of common themes in a gentle and open ended way that is never preachy or even trying to argue for or against anything.

But I liked this book, overall, in its uncomfortable honesty. Even the self-important and self-delusional family friend, Manfred, is a welcome comic relief. I often found myself wondering where the story was going. Then there are the magic shows Fred performs with his pot-smoking, failed actor father. It reads like a sort of fictional memoir. But descriptions of the ways Fred experiences feeling one with the universe, being overwhelmed by love for strangers, etc are comparable to those found in the early Carlos Castaneda books.


He currently lives in Chicago and teaches fiction writing as an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Alex Shakar’s first novel, The Savage Girl was good but I had some problems with it, one of which was the soullessness of his characters.

It’s written in a stream of consciousness way, which at times is rather distracting from what’s actually happening in the book. One thing that makes life worth living is the luck of the draw, the chance that dreams can be realized or taken away. It is an existential appraisal of life in the jet stream; a marvelous re-examining of all that Americans hold dear in our fast-paced, ambitious, over-eager, petty little lives.

Under all of this searching for alternate realities and the exploration of religions is the fear of death. We find our condemnation and our redemption in the same overwhelming text.

Open Preview See a Problem? I get it already. I read the Savage Girl by Alex Shakar and loved it. I was hoping to be done with her when she kicked Freddo out. The writing style amounts to something like a subdued cyber punk novel–snappy, terse lists of objects in a room to set the tone for a scene; a short-lived appearance of a character with a soul patch who in lieu of knowing his name is called Soul Patch.

Some of the characters are just plain ridiculous. Meanwhile, his younger brother, the workaholic Sam, has transformed their former company from an idealistic virtual reality paradise called Urth to a military and emergency training environment and who seems to be setting Fred up for failure and humiliation. I had to go back and restart this book several times.