Jim Rath has a dream: to open a museum based on the Aquatic Ape Theory of human evolution. As he becomes more and more obsessed with the museum and with conducting his strange underwater experiments (standing submerged in a hotel pool for hours), his fractured marriage reaches the breaking point.
On the night his wife walks out, Jim seeks solace in a bar—where he spots a man he believes is an emissary from the Nautikons, a lost aquatic race, but who is actually a low-level agent for the Department of Homeland Security. This chance encounter sets in motion a game of cat-and-mouse between two delusional and quixotic men that leads to a tragic confrontation…and begins a countdown to what could be Jim’s last days as a free man.
From its satiric depiction of the state of our national security to its portrayal of a hapless man whose peculiar yet harmless fixation becomes his undoing, The Unknown Knowns
is a darkly comic send-up of post-9/11 America.Discussion Questions
1. What political and social commentary is the author making in the novel? How about regarding the Department of Homeland Security in particular? What is your opinion of how he presents the department, as well as the U. S. Congress?
2. At the beginning of the story, Jim asserts that “the curve of credibility doesn’t get any gentler