It's been years since I read an Isabel Allende novel, and this, The Infinite Plan
didn't disappoint. It reminded me a bit of Aloft
by Chang-Rae Lee, another novel narrated by a middle-aged man whose life is falling apart, that I read earlier this year, except that Allende brings her special touch with violence and sex and the absurd to this epic. The Infinite Plan
begins in the forties, at the end of the second world war, with Gregory Reeves, the son of a traveling mystic, Charles Reeves, who is preaching 'The Infinite Plan'; a system by which man may restore himself to his rightful place in the universe. Gregory fights his way through the barrios
of LA, and into Berkeley, and then Vietnam, where he becomes a decorated hero and loses his soul. Gregory has lost his place in the universe and has to find it back.
This novel was unique for Allende; it is her first set in California and the Golden State is practically a character in the novel, a wise and benevolent one. Highly recommended.
And with that, I've read 50 books this year!