Long-listed for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, The Teleportation Accident is a hilarious sci-fi noir about sex, Satan, and teleportation devices.
When you haven't had sex in a long time, it feels like the worst thing that could ever happen.
If you're living in Germany in the 1930s, it probably isn't.
But that's no consolation to Egon Loeser, whose carnal misfortunes will push him from the experimental theaters of Berlin to the absinthe bars of Paris to the physics laboratories of Los Angeles, trying all the while to solve two mysteries: Was it really a deal with Satan that claimed the life of his hero, Renaissance set designer Adriano Lavicini, creator of the so-called Teleportation Device? And why is it that a handsome, clever, modest guy like him can't-just once in a while-get himself laid?
Ned Bauman has crafted a stunningly inventive, exceptionally funny, dangerously unsteady and (largely) coherent novel about sex, violence, space, time, and how the best way to deal with history is to ignore it.
Beauman's inspired second novel introduces us to peripatetic, ever-horny Egon Loeser, a Berlin set designer of the early 1930s who leaves his city on account of someone named Hitler not Adolph, but Adele (no relation), a young beauty impervious to Egon's charms. He follows her to Paris, then L.A., as his social set flees the encroaching horrors of National Socialism at home. Egon finds his love at CalTech, working for a physicist who might have discovered the secret of teleportation, a coincidence, because back in Berlin, Egon was working on his own, stagecraft version, based on an elaborate mechanical device from 1679. There are others who covet the physicist's secret, including a crime novelist's cuckolding wife and a cracked Pasadena millionaire who has made his fortune in car polish, and Egon becomes enmeshed in a conspiracy involving an NKVD spy, a serial killer, and the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. Beauman (Boxer, Beetle) has an unflagging imagination and an indefatigable gift for comedy. His overstuffed (in a good way) novel comprises memorable comic dialogue and hilarious set pieces. While Egon may not be the most admirable of protagonists, in Beauman's hands his voyage of self-discovery illuminates a pivotal moment in 20th-century history.