Henry Tuhoe is the quintessential 21st-century man. He has a vague, well-compensated job working for a multinational conglomerate - but everyone around him is getting laid off as the company outsources everything it can to third-world countries. Henry has a beautiful wife - his college sweetheart - and an idyllic new home in the leafy suburbs, complete with a pool. But his wife won't let him touch her, even though she demanded he get a vasectomy; he's seriously overleveraged on the mortgage; and no matter what chemicals he tries, the pool remains a corpselike shade of ghastly green.
Then Henry's boss offers him a choice: go to the tiny, magical, about-to-be-globalized Kingdom of Galado to oversee the launch of a new customer-service call center for a boutique bottled water company the conglomerate has just acquired, or lose the job with no severance. Henry takes the transfer, more out of fecklessness than a sense of adventure.
In Galado, a land both spiritual and corrupt, Henry wrestles with first-world moral conundrums, the life he left behind, the attention of a steroid-abusing, megalomaniacal monarch, and a woman intent on redeeming both his soul and her country. The result is a riveting piece of fiction of and for our times, blackly satirical, moving, and profound.
©2010 James Othmer (P)2010 Tantor