Join us for the book launch of Tom Burke's highly anticipated novel, Eastbound into the Cosmos, a dark comedy about new kinds of faith and spirituality—what people want, and what they’re willing to do to get it.
American culture is strange, and it appears even stranger after a hiatus. Cue Everett is back in Chicagoland after living in China. His head is spinning. His father has just died, and basic reentry to the life he once knew is increasingly taxing and complicated. On top of that, it seems that while he was abroad, everyone Everett cared about dove off the deep end into some particular madness. Exhibit A: Everett’s mom, recently widowed and with a newfound faith in healing crystals and a pony-tailed guru. Exhibit B: former roommate Dino and his new ascetic lifestyle—no more tasty food, ditto with sexy thoughts and the rest of life’s pleasures. Increasingly driftless and desperate, Everett signs onto an unconventional business venture that lands him at the center of the high-stakes world of mushroom smuggling. Eastbound into the Cosmos is the story of Everett’s attempt to process it all—the longing, the grief, the weirdness. Along the way he discovers the weird in himself, too, which may just be the thing that ultimately frees him.
Thomas Burke received a BA from Union College and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Eastbound into the Cosmos is his first novel. He has contributed work to Tin House, The Rumpus, Playboy, Hobart Pulp, and St. Petersburg Review.. He has taught at UMass Amherst, the Newberry Library, and Northwestern University, where he is currently assistant director of the Kaplan Humanities Institute. Formerly Burke helped direct the Summer Literary Seminars in Russia and co-founded its sister program in Kenya. He is the recipient of the Eugene Yudis Prize for fiction, a fellowship from the UMass Amherst MFA Program, and a residency at Art Omi’s Ledig House, among other honors. He lives in Evanston with his wife and two children. Order your copy of the book here.