New novel — UNORTHODOXY by Joshua A. N. Harris (Mali)

 

 

Unorthodoxy
by Joshua A H. Harris (Mali 1996-98)
Atmosphere Press
294 pages
(paperback) $15.95; (ebook) $9.95
November 2019

 

The surviving son of a germophobic mother, Cecil Reitmeister embraces all forms of bacteria and formulates an elaborate plan to lead humanity out of the Anthropocene and into a new era of interspecies harmony. His idiosyncratic plan requires years of experimentation and precise manipulation of his microbiome, the totality of microorganisms present in or on the human body. His mad-scientist mission leads to extreme social isolation, with the memory of his dead mother becoming his most frequent visitor.

Cecil’s quest to save the world comes to a screeching halt when his social worker and the police show up to condemn the only home he has ever known. Thrown in jail for assaulting the police, Cecil soon finds himself homeless and struggles to adjust to life on the streets. When he meets a group of Freegans (people who reject consumerism and seek to reduce waste by collecting discarded food) led by a magnetic red-headed woman, Cecil is forced to confront demons from his past and to reassess his self-imposed alienation, the rigidity of his worldview, and, ultimately, his plan to save humanity.

Joshua A.H. Harris is a writer, father, and recovering environmental attorney. He grew up in Laramie, Wyoming, served in the Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa, and currently lives in the Bay Area. Joshua holds degrees from Brown University, UC Davis, and San Francisco State University.

His writings have appeared in the East Bay Times, Gravitas (Pub House Books), Berkeley Times, and Ars Poetica. In 2014, he wrote Out of the Fog, a serialized novel released one chapter per week over the course of a calendar year (available at outofthefogjh.blogspot.com).

In 2017, Joshua became an associate editor for La Vil: Stories from the Streets of Port-au-Prince, Voice of Witness (San Francisco). More recently, he wrote and published “Common Sense 2019: A Bipartisan Call to Take Back Our Government,” a political pamphlet that addresses the fundamental problem of money in politics.

Joshua is also an associate producer of the following movies: “Night Comes On” (2018) starring Dominique Fishback and Tatum Marilyn Hall; “House of Tomorrow” (2017), starring Asa Butterfield; “Lucky” (2017), starring Harry Dean Stanton; and “Columbus” (2017), starring John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson, and Parker Posey.

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