Eric Lundgren's comic novel "The Facades" centers on Sven Norberg and his search for his missing wife, a popular mezzo soprano with the city opera. Norberg has a 16-year-old son, a menial job, a mother living in an exclusive mental institution, and lots of time to ponder what it all means.
Norberg moves from one absurd situation to another, introducing readers to the fictional Midwestern city of Trude, a formerly-great industrial center now crowded with boarded-up grand hotels and mansions. The architecture of the city is dominated by the work of one man who left behind a memoir titled "Memories of My Nervous Illness."
The mayor of Trude has closed the public libraries in an effort to make the city less "namby-pamby." A group of librarians has formed an armed militia and occupies Central Public Library, a large beaux-arts palace with high arched windows and a staircase flanked by two gilded owls.
Eric Lundgren grew up in Minneapolis, graduated from the Washington University MFA program, and works for St. Louis Public Library. This is his first novel. Each week the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lists top sellers at local independent bookstores. For the week of September 15, "The Facades" was number one.
--Jennifer A., Headquarters