Bigfoot Dreams

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Vera Perl once was a respectable free-lance journalist who wrote about real people and events; when an account of her best friend’s involvement with a bizarre cult resulted in that friend being locked in a psychiatric ward, however, Vera swore off reality. As the action of the novel beings, the thirtyish New Yorker is happily employed as a writer for THIS WEEK, a tabloid that panders to an avid public of supermarket shoppers. When not making up stories about Bigfoot and miracle cures for cancer, Vera cares for her precocious daughter, pines for her former husband, and interacts with the grotesque characters who pass through the offices of THIS WEEK.

Unfortunately, a story that Vera makes up turns out to be true. As crowds begin to gather around a Brooklyn brownstone where tap water actually does cure cancer, the management of THIS WEEK informs Vera that she will have to go so that they can avoid a lawsuit. When her former husband, Lowell, arrives with a scheme for marketing the magic cure, Vera finds her emotional life further complicated. Only a pell-mell crosscountry journey that takes Vera to rural Washington and the Grand Canyon allows her to make sense of how a real and an imagined world have coincided in her life. A straightforward summation of plot cannot convey what prose does in BIGFOOT DREAMS. The novel compassionately lingers on the flotsam and jetsam of contemporary American culture--aging hippies still searching for fulfillment, onetime cult followers who settle for domesticity, and retirees who aimlessly flip television channels to pass time. Even if you have never cast a surreptitious glance at those tawdry supermarket tabloids, let Vera Perl introduce you to a world where tap water does cure cancer and Bigfoot still roams free in the Washington woods.