As Ron Currie Jr.’s new book begins, an omniscient voice gives instruction to a baby boy still in utero. “First, enjoy this time!” the voice says. “Never again will you bear so little responsibility for your own survival.”The voice goes on to outline what the unborn child can expect from life. The child will learn to walk. After that, it’s told, “you must learn to run, share, swing a bat and hold a pencil, love, weep, read, tie your shoelaces, bathe and die.” Die? Already? How? The voice helpfully proclaims that 36 years and 168 days after the child is born a runaway comet will smash violently into planet Earth.What these opening passages also announce is that Mr. Currie is a startlingly talented writer whose book will pay no heed to ordinary narrative conventions. His thoughts on cosmic doom somehow take the form of a joyride. He survives the inevitable, apt comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut and writes in a tenderly mordant voice of his own.