Marcel Theroux's Strange Bodies is about Nicholas Slopen's return to life, the 18th-century lexicographer Samuel Johnson and dead people inhabiting new bodies. As Slopen is cautioned, "the truth of this situation is much stranger and more complex than you can imagine."
Theroux, whose previous novel, Far North, was a National Book Award finalist, is also a filmmaker. He joins NPR's Scott Simon to talk about his genre-bending new novel and the thin lines that separate real life and science fiction.
One hopes, at an event of nebulous actual significance like the opening ceremonies of any Olympics, for a single moment that can tease out the specific weirdness of that event. You need something, some nut, some bit, that can demonstrate to people in a single flash what it was like for a bunch of people to pay attention to something even though arguably nothing happened.
If you want to know what Elvis' fur lampshade looks like, you can go to Graceland, but if you want to know what Elvis was really like, you have to read Peter Guralnick's classic two-volume biography of the King.