Dead birds are falling out of the sky and Maurice Delahoussaye suspects the air in New Orleans may be unsafe. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries claims the birds were poisoned, while meteorologists suggest they were killed by a sudden change in temperature. There’s even talk of terrorism, Bird Flu, West Nile Virus, or high levels of mold spores left over from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Gradually, Maurice becomes increasingly fearful that the government is hiding an ominous secret, and when he begins having strange religious premonitions suggesting that his wife is pregnant with Jesus Christ, he becomes convinced that the dead birds are a sign from God. In the City of Falling Stars is a tragicomedy that examines the increasing paranoia following the September 11th attacks, as well as a commentary on the devastating psychological scars that the storm left on the city of New Orleans.
Maurice has a growing paranoia….well….of everything. As this paranoia worsens, so do the worries of his family. And to quote the son…”he has a family full of lunatics”. And they are destined to become a little more off kilter. The daughter is having an affair with her calculus professor, the wife is having an affair and becomes pregnant, the son is skipping school and smoking pot.
Through all of Maurice’s faults, you can’t help but like the guy. I developed a strange affinity for him. I felt for him, I wanted to slap him, and I wanted to help him. Needless to say, he goes from bad to worse. He is determined to wreck his family even though he has no idea he is doing so. His heart is in the right place, his brain is not.
Even with many dark spots the author weaves some humor throughout this creative tale. There are many places I laughed out loud….I probably shouldn’t have…but I could just picture some of the family’s antics. With the right actors, this would make a great dark comedy movie.