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The Epiphany Machine (Book Review)

This is by far one of the best books I have read in years, and it has also inspired me to start writing my own novel again. And that, I think, it what a brilliant book should always do. The Epiphany Machine follows the story of the main character, Venter Lowood, whose parents both have “Epiphany” tattoos that are given by a local cult leader. The Epiphany Machine is basically a magical sewing machine that was found in someone’s garbage can, that tattoos personal epiphanies on people’s forearms.

Throughout the book though, the reader is left wondering if the epiphany machine has merit or not, but it definitely affects the lives of all who come in contact with it. Venter’s father explains to Venter what Venter’s mother would say about the tattoos:

“If Rose were here, she would explain more delicately than I can that the worst possible thing you could think of to say about someone will almost certainly be your epiphany.”

Damn, right? The epiphanies that are printed on peoples arms include such phrases as “DEPENDENT ON THE OPINION OF OTHERS,” “WASTES HIS ARTISTIC GIFTS,” and “HIDES FROM LACK OF TALENT IN CYNICISM AND LIES.” The book is existentially comic, as well as brushing along the tragic as the machine intermingles with current events and politics. At one point during the book, it is declared that everyone should get an epiphany tattoo, and those that don’t are hiding something.

In the end, the book was in my opinion a masterpiece of the hipster generation. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a mix of all things in a book, heavy questioning the meaning of life and the people within it.

“Almost anything could be tattooed on my arm and I would recognize it as a murmuring from the deepest part of my soul, because at some point or other I’ve wanted everything; I’ve wanted to be everyone… That’s the entire reason the machine seems to work; anything that you can claim is in somebody’s head has probably been there at some point. People feel a shock of recognition at the truth, but they feel a shock of recognition at a lot of other things, too,” Rebecca, Venter’s future wife states.

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© Copyright 2018 Annie Windholz

midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe —

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