Hmm, what could the following all have in common: an aging antique mall in Wichita, Kansas, where well established and novice sellers are struggling to keep the doors open in the age of online shopping; a child beauty pageant queen who has mysteriously vanished; and the hosts of a phenomenally popular television show about buying and selling antiques. While seemingly unrelated, all of these individuals and events will collide in surprising and hilarious ways in Luke Geddes’ debut novel Heart of Junk.
Geddes, author of the short story collection I Am a Magical Teenage Princess (for now, not available in e-media), demonstrates a talent for creating quirky characters and razor sharp dialogue. He has populated The Heart of America Antique Mall with a group of people who cover a wide range on the collecting spectrum, from obsessed to disinterested. This allows readers to get behind the mindset and emotions of active collectors, and active sellers, and in turn, how those collectors appear to others, who do not share the same passion and obsession. Through the development of his characters and their actions, Geddes explores the hows and whys of those who actively collect all sorts of materials; how their collections can grow to levels that are out of control, or even shrink to the point where the person continues to collect, despite the fact that the collector no longer has any interest in the items. They simply do so because they have always collected, and have become closely associated with the items in their collection, and don’t know how to live without them. Geddes glories in the description of the collections, and in those who have spent a few years or an entire lifetime acquiring them.
All of this is explored in the midst of a community-wide search for a missing child. There isn’t much of a mystery because readers are allowed to know the child’s actual location early in the novel, which allows Geddes to focus on the fun without the weight of a child’s welfare and/or survival dragging down the mood.
Heart of Junk is a quick, yet insightful, read that is a lot of fun and involves a mania that may be instantly recognizable to a lot of people.
Available in e-media
Here is the interview with the author, Luke Geddes.