Who is Neftoon Zamora? According to legend, a mystical person rumored to be part Zuni, part Martian, and part Delta blues musician -- who came here from the Great Spirit, or maybe Mars, or possibly even Mississippi, thousands of years ago. Is Neftoon Zamora just a myth, a tale told by fools to children? Or is there an undeniably powerful presence living in a small, hidden settlement in the mountains of New Mexico?Welcome to ""The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora,"" a first novel of magical realism that is both humorous and heartfelt. When a musician called Nez stumbles upon a mysterious recording, he is captivated by the voice he hears. He immediately sets off on a road trip to New Mexico to pursue the enigmatic Neftoon Zamora, who he has heard is a venerated Indian chief of high priest. Stopping at a roadside diner, however, Nez encounters Neffie, a woman who may or may not be the person he seeks. Intrigued by the luxurious sandy hair that falls to her waist and the dazzling light that liesbehind her gray-green eyes, Nez accepts her proposal to help him in his search.
Hey, hey, he's a Monkee, but is he a writer? Readers will wonder as Nesmith turns his talents to fiction with a polemical New Age novel about a mysterious beauty who enchants wherever she goes. When Nez first hears a tape of Neftoon Zamora at a friend's house in New Orleans, he becomes so enchanted with the bluesy sound that he follows it to its source in New Mexico. There he encounters the many legends surrounding Zamora�whom some see as a man and others as a woman�as well as Neffie, a captivating girl whom he initially mistakes for Zamora but who is in reality (or one reality) part of an elaborate scam. Pursuing his fantastic quest, Nez becomes increasingly enthralled by Neffie and by her Utopian hometown, an ancient Anasazi city, self-sufficient and hidden from the world in the side of a canyon. Unfortunately, Nesmith's pedestrian observations and gee-whiz tone undermine his wacky premise, which he plays out at a YA level of sophistication. In addition, the book sometimes devolves into opinions held together only loosely by the artifice of plot. Nez pontificates digressively on everything from "how regimented and bureaucratic names are" to the blatant commercialism of the how-to-succeed industry. Will Nesmith the writer match the success of Nesmith the Monkee? Even readers who agree with his opinions�e.g., that poets should be more important than football players; that the Net can be a dangerous thing�are unlikely to find themselves whistling "I'm a believer."(Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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St. Martin's Press
October 31, 1998
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