If I tell you a story about Coyote and its trickster ways, you better find it confusing, jumping around and making loops and twists. Gods Without Men is just that, a vast story that you wait to come together before the desert swallows it. The book follows nine characters across the time from the 1700s to the 2000s, mixed with the story of Coyote. Hari Kunzru gives every one of them an elaborate backstory to such an extent that I felt exhausted. I waited for the connections to begin, but they actually never did. Not in the way that my brain hungered for. All the strangers were connected by the desert, some loosely, others more tightly. The main story is about the disappearance of an autistic child, Raj, and how that tears his mother and father and their lives apart.
I honestly didn’t enjoy the book. It felt overcrowded, as if it couldn’t decide what story to tell, what issue to criticize and ponder: autism and how that influence the family, immigration, religion, cults, losing meaning, war, trauma, media… the list is endless. There is nothing wrong with a book having so many themes, but it didn’t work here and now for me. I just wanted to get to the Coyote parts as they felt the most naturally told stories in the book. Others were forced. Even when the ending somehow clarified what the book was about, it felt empty. And I kind of disliked it because of how it fixed Raj and his autism.
What can I say? Not a book for me, sorrily. I wanted to enjoy it. It had such a great start, but sometimes it goes like this. Maybe there comes a time I can revisit this story, and it speaks to me.
Thank you for reading, and if you find a coyote in the desert, hear its stories, but be aware ❤