In Steve Erickson’s Shadowbahn, the Twin Towers reappear in South Dakota, wholly intact and without explanation.

“As the crowds arrive over the following days, the families and loners, the footloose and motor-bound, the drivers and passengers and hitchhikers, the cards and RVs and trailers, the shuttles and buses and private jets, the news vans and military jeeps and airborne surveillance, the constituents and pols and advance teams, the graphic designers and Hollywood scouts and novelists who can’t make up anything anymore, the systems and cynics and juries-still-out, the Towers loom from the end of what becomes a long national boulevard.”

Meanwhile, Elvis’s stillborn twin brother roams the mid-twentieth century, rewiring history. Shadowbahn is a widescreen novel with a sense of lightness and invention I hadn’t encountered before. Each chapter is a page, and each page leaps and loops through a garbled American landscape dotted with the Velvet Underground, Bobby Kennedy, Malcolm X, John Lennon, new states and territories, and endless music trivia. And there’s the sense of being held captive—in the best and worst ways—to the author’s obsession with the perfect playlist.

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