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The Only Ones
by Carola Dibbell


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One of "BuzzFeed"'s "Most Exciting New Books of 2015."
One of "Dazed & Confused"'s "Writers, Bloggers, Titles, & Zines to Watch Out for in 2015."
"On the other side of Aldous Huxley's brave new world is Carola Dibbell's braver one, all the more unsettling (and maybe even more profound) for being not five hundred years from now but five minutes, in a time at once beyond our control and too immediate to escape.  Read more...


 
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More About The Only Ones by Carola Dibbell
 
 
 
Overview

One of "BuzzFeed"'s "Most Exciting New Books of 2015."
One of "Dazed & Confused"'s "Writers, Bloggers, Titles, & Zines to Watch Out for in 2015."
"On the other side of Aldous Huxley's brave new world is Carola Dibbell's braver one, all the more unsettling (and maybe even more profound) for being not five hundred years from now but five minutes, in a time at once beyond our control and too immediate to escape. Brilliantly conceived, passionately defiant, deeply felt, "The Only Ones" introduces -- in the form of central character Inez Fardo -- one of the most memorable and compelling first-person voices in recent American fiction."
--Steve Erickson
"A bracing, tough minded, farsighted novel about bravery and endurance, motherhood and the way life goes on even after the world ends. Every sentence pierces."
--Kelly Link
"This is an enthralling journey through a near future, plague filled landscape, presented with such gritty clarity and such a darkly humorous eye for detail that it feels completely real. Inez' deadpan account of her heroic struggle to keep her daughter alive in the ruins of Brooklyn and Queens - a devastated but curiously familiar world, filled with maddening school bureaucracies and public transport that never comes - becomes a fantastic portrait of what it is to raise a child."
--Mary Harron
"Dibbell tells this story with intensity and color, through a voice that is as shattered and alive as the world she has created, exploring universal themes of sacrifice, love, and the fragile yet persistent will to survive. At times, "The Only Ones" feels large, small, sweeping and intimate, scary and full of hope. Dense and vivid, smart and thought-provoking."
--Charles Yu

Inez wanders a post-pandemic world, strangely immune to disease, making her living by volunteering as a test subject. She is hired to provide genetic material to a grief-stricken, affluent mother, who lost all four of her daughters within four short weeks. This experimental genetic work is policed by a hazy network of governmental ethics committees, and threatened by the Knights of Life, religious zealots who raze the rural farms where much of this experimentation is done.

When the mother backs out at the last minute, Inez is left responsible for the product, which in this case is a baby girl, Ani. Inez must protect Ani, who is a scientific breakthrough, keeping her alive, dodging authorities and religious fanatics, and trying to provide Ani with the childhood that Inez never had, which means a stable home and an education.

With a stylish voice influenced by years of music writing, "The Only Ones" is a time-old story, tender and iconic, about how much we love our children, however they come, as well as a sly commentary on class, politics, and the complexities of reproductive technology.

Carola Dibbell is a highly regarded rock critic whose fiction has appeared in the "New Yorker," the "Paris Review," "Fence," and "Black Clock." Writing about books as well as music, Dibbell was a "Village Voice" contributor for many years. "The Only Ones" is her debut novel.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781937512279
  • ISBN-10: 1937512274
  • Publisher: Two Dollar Radio
  • Publish Date: March 2015
  • Page Count: 344


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-01-12
  • Reviewer: Staff

Dibbell’s debut novel chillingly imagines the world in the wake of a global pandemic in the latter part of the 21st century, when much of the population has been wiped out by a potent combination of viruses and bacterial infections that includes tuberculosis, polio, and Ebola. The reader views this apocalyptic abyss through the eyes of Inez Kissena Fardo, a young woman from Queens, N.Y., who has never known a normal existence—she has never even seen a baby. Reproductive ability has been annihilated, and fetuses are made in a lab. Instead of parents there are “clients”; mothers have become “hosts,” and fathers are now “male product.” Inez, who is immune to infection, becomes part of Rauden Sach’s team of baby makers for paying customers. When other methods fail, Rauden resorts to cloning her, and complications ensue. The futuristic trials of motherhood are eerily familiar; Inez spends her days rushing from one low-wage job to the next to pay for her daughter’s schooling, clothes, and the things she needs to keep up with her friends. The book illuminates present-day paranoias, but it is further elevated by Dibbell’s trenchant attention to the corrosive nature of social and economic inequality. (Mar.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews