Irving Goodman, self-confessed dirty old man, is 83 years old and has just fallen in love. Unfortunately, Justine Trimble, star of 1950s cowboy B-movies, has been dead for 47 years. He saw her first in Last Stage to El Paso, a lowlife black-and-white Western, and has been unable to think of anything else since. Desperate, Goodman invokes the help of his old friend, Istvan Fallock, to see if they can’t somehow coax a videotape to yield the 25-year-old Justine. So with a test tube, distillation of frog, a can of primordial soup mixed with a suspension of disbelief, they attempt to summon her back to life. To their surprise and consternation, she materializes. As a reward for lust and hubris, Irving gets a lot more than the affection and attention he’d bargained for.
Thus begins an amazing tale of murder and mayhem in contemporary London, where sexy vampire cowgirls run amok, chased by men old enough to know better. Russell Hoban is in top form with his much-anticipated latest novel. As the British Sunday Telegraph says, “I’ve often thought of Russell Hoban as a sentimental Samuel Beckett for people who would rather Vladimir and Estragon just did something while waiting for Godot not to show up.”
Typical of the odd concoctions Hoban likes to cook up in his laboratory: a brief, fanciful narrative. . . the sort of thing the French call a jeu d’esprit.
—The New York Times
An adult fairy tale, an outrageous and genial fantasy of love, sex and death . . . a unique and peculiar union of the everyday and the wholly surreal.
Russell Hoban’s perfectly cadenced, slyly comic prose is ambrosia.
—Washington Post Book World