1974: A tiny band of self-styled urban guerrillas, calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army, abducts a newspaper heiress, who then abruptly announces that she has adopted the guerrilla name "Tania" and chosen to remain with her former captors. Has she been brainwashed? Coerced? Could she be sincere? Why would such a nice girl disavow her loving parents, her adoring fiancÃ©, her comfortable home? Why would she suddenly adopt the SLA's cri de coeur, "Death to the Fascist Insect that Preys Upon the Life of the People"? Soon most of the SLA are dead, killed in a suicidal confrontation with police in Los Angeles, forcing Tania and her two remaining comrades--the pompous and abusive General Teko and his duplicitous lieutenant, Yolanda--into hiding, where they will remain for the next sixteen months.
Trance, Christopher Sorrentino's mesmerizing and brilliant second novel, traces this fugitive period, leading the reader on a breathtaking, hilarious, and heartbreaking underground tour across a beleaguered America, in the company of scam artists, visionaries, cultists, and a mismatched gang of middle-class people who typify the guiding conceit of their time, that of self-renovation. Along the way he tells the story of a nation divided against itself--parents and children, men and women, black and white; a story of hidebound tradition and radical change, of truth and propaganda, of cynicism and idealism; a story as transfixing and relevant today as it was then.
Insightful, compassionate, scathingly funny, and moving, Trance is a virtuoso performance, placing Christopher Sorrentino in the first rank of American novelists.