West Condon, a quiet mining town. But when the Deepwater Number 9 mine explodes, an apocalyptic cult springs up around the sole survivor, Giovanni Bru. When the town's newspaper editor seeks to debunk the Brunist cult, the story goes national and the town is flooded with new believers. As tensions mount, the town erupts into a swell of violence.
Robert Coover has published fourteen novels, three short story collections, and a collection of plays since The Origin of the Brunists received the The William Faulkner Foundation First Novel Award in 1966. At Brown University, where he has taught for over thirty years, he established the International Writers Project, a program that provides an annual fellowship and safe haven to endangered international writers who face harassment, imprisonment, and suppression of their work in their home countries. In 1990-91, he launched the world's first hypertext fiction workshop, was one of the founders in 1999 of the Electronic Literature Organization, and in 2002 created CaveWriting, the first writing workshop in immersive virtual reality. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times has said Of all the postmodern writers, Robert Coover is probably the funniest and most malicious, mixing up broad social and political satire with vaudeville turns, lewd pratfalls, and clever word plays that make us rethink both the mechanics of the world and our relationship to it. Coover has also received awards from the Lannan Foundation, American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Endowment of the Arts, and the Rea Lifetime Short Story Award.