June 26, 1947. Headlines across America report that an aviator from Idaho witnessed nine pulsating lights flying over the Cascade Mountains at speeds surpassing any aircraft built by humankind. Days later, a desperate Chicago pool hustler, inspired by the news, hitchhikes west in a fever-dream search for a possible extraterrestrial sign. From those he inspires along the way to the Cascades comes a new community—“The Seekers”—devoted to creating a society where divisions of race, ethnicity, and sexuality are a thing of the past.
Believing that utopia will begin in a community of their own creation, The Seekers attempt to settle in the suburbs of Long Island. One night, a stranger arrives and a horrific crime ensues. In the decades that follow, the perpetrators, survivors, and their children will be forced to face the consequences of what happened.
Like an eroding Atlantic seashore, a Cascade mountain snowflake, and the branching crimson streaks in bloodshot eyes, Nine Shiny Objects is a fractal: a novel of intimate reveries that replicates to form a larger portrait of America’s cleaved soul—the perpetual clash between the optimism of those who seek inspiration from spacious skies and the venom of others who relish the underworld—not only via conspiratorial maneuverings, but the literal unearthing of the dead.