Luminarium was one of five books recommended for summer reading by The Center for Fiction: Luminarium by Alex Shakar is not the kind of book I would ordinarily choose. Twins who are game developers? One in a coma, the other struggling to make sense of his life outside the virtual worlds he creates? Neurological studies, military conglomerates, and war games? Didn’t sound like a book I’d like very much. In fact, I loved it! Shakar takes on the difficult questions of how to find meaning and be fully awake and he does it without pontificating in a story that is engaging from start to finish. There’s a reason this just won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, so don’t be scared off as I nearly was.
Luminarium has been awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction:"Bold, ambitious, and dazzling with ideas and narrative energy, Luminarium is a novel that refuses to settle for contrivance as it goes after the hard truths of family life, technology, culture, and urban experience. It is a work that demands and rewards a reader's full engagement. Alex Shakar's many-chambered novel leaves us changed for good." --2011 Fiction Judges
"Luminarium is a sprawling, brilliant look at the globally interconnected world we live in, and the protagonist, Fred Brounian, is a wonderful guide to it — a lovable Eeyore of a guy just trying to find a few answers (or at least figure out the right questions). I loved this one—maybe last year’s most ambitious novel, and certainly one of the strangest.” -- Sarah Reidy, Other Press
Luminarium has been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
Luminarium has been included in the Austin Chronicle's roundup, "The Year in Books: Thirty-one titles that got us talking this year."
Luminarium has made Washington Post reviewer Ron Charles' Top Ten Novels list for 2011.
Luminarium made CCLaP's top ten list, "The Year in Books: Best Experimental and Cutting Edge.":"It's important to realize that this sometimes surreal novel is not the trippy sci-fi tale that its cover and promotional material makes it out to be . . . but what it turns out to be is pretty great too, a clever and meandering examination of the human condition in post-9/11 America, seen through some of the filters that so defined the mid-2000s (virtual worlds, cut-throat startups, Homeland Security, New Age philosophy, the Disney town of Celebration, Florida). . . . A book that will make your jaw drop at points from its pure sense of inventiveness. . . ."
Luminarium has been selected for The Washington Post's Notable Fiction of 2011.
Luminarium has been selected as one of the best novels of 2011 by the Kansas City Star:"Shakar brings a host of profound concerns to this inventive, metaphysical, funny and caring novel set in post-9/11 New York City, ground zero for moral and spiritual paradoxes, in which one twin brother is in a coma and the other is desperately seeking healing and direction as the virtual world they worked so hard to create is commandeered by the 'military-entertainment complex.'"