"As he did in his fantastic debut Mosquitoland, David Arnold again shows a knack for getting into the mind of an eccentric teenager in clever, poignant fashion." —USA Today
This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.
Then Noah → gets hypnotized.
Now Noah → sees changes: his mother has a scar on her face that wasn’t there before; his old dog, who once walked with a limp, is suddenly lithe; his best friend, a lifelong DC Comics disciple, now rotates in the Marvel universe. Subtle behaviors, bits of history, plans for the future—everything in Noah’s world has been rewritten. Everything except his Strange Fascinations . . .
A stunning surrealist portrait, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a story about all the ways we hurt our friends without knowing it, and all the ways they stick around to save us.
In Arnold's (Mosquitoland) dry-witted and existentially minded story, 16-year-old Noah Oakman's life has been laid out in front of him. College swimming recruiters are calling, and all he sees ahead of him are four unfulfilling years at a college he is unenthusiastic about. To get some breathing space, he fakes a back injury, and afterward, begins to focus more on his strange fascinations: four seemingly unconnected people. During a disorienting drunken night, Noah meets Circuit Lovelock, the son of a famous inventor, telling him "It's like my life is this old sweater. And I've outgrown it." Circuit's attempt to hypnotize Noah recalibrates his reality, and everything has changed, except for his strange fascinations and a handful of people who, Noah realizes, share a common trait: loneliness. Arnold's characters are seeking higher meaning but he manages to keep the story from drifting into the esoteric by creating moments of true tenderness. Noah's own writing ("I think writing is less about the words and more about the silence between them") and his internal exploration propel the narrative forward, allowing Arnold to explore the stagnancy of a predetermined path and unanswered questions about reality, interpretation, and imagination. Ages 14 up.