Big Machine


Ricky Rice is a middle-aged hustler with a lingering junk habit, a bum knee, and a haunted mind. The sole survivor of a suicide cult, he spends his days scraping by as a porter at a bus depot in Utica, New York. Until one day a letter arrives, reminding him of a vow he once made and summoning him to Vermont's remote Northeast Kingdom to
fulfill it.

There, Ricky is inducted into a band of paranormal investigators comprised of former addicts and petty criminals, all of whom have at some point in their wasted lives heard the Voice: a murmur on the wind, a disembodied shout, a whisper in an empty room. All these may or may not have been messages from God. Their mission is to find the Voice—and figure out what it wants.

NPR Interview

Man, A Latrine, A Bus Station And A Promise
"These are the opening elements of Victor Lavalle's new novel, Big Machine. The protagonist has a problem, but what's a man got to worry about if he's mopping floors for Trailways in Utica, New York? Guest host Jacki Lyden talks to LaValle, who some say writes like Thomas Pynchon, others like Ralph Ellison."

Click here to read the interview or listen on


Big Machine Accolades

American Book Award 2010
Shirley Jackson Award 2009 - Best Novel
10 Best Book of 2009 — Publisher's Weekly
Favorite Fiction of 2009 — Chicago Tribune
Best Science Fiction of 2009 — LA Times
Best Sci Fi & Fantasy — Washington Post
Most Valuable Novel of 2009 — The Nation


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Background Image © Shaun O'Boyle