An intelligent and madly entertaining debut novel reminiscent of The Crying of Lot 49, White Noise , and City of Glass that is at once a missing-person mystery, an exorcism of modern culture, and a wholly singular vision of contemporary womanhood from a terrifying and often funny voice of a new generation.Read more...
An intelligent and madly entertaining debut novel reminiscent of The Crying of Lot 49, White Noise, and City of Glass that is at once a missing-person mystery, an exorcism of modern culture, and a wholly singular vision of contemporary womanhood from a terrifying and often funny voice of a new generation.
A woman known only by the letter A lives in an unnamed American city with her roommate, B, and boyfriend, C, who wants her to join him on a reality show called That's My Partner A eats (or doesn't) the right things, watches endless amounts of television, often just for the commercials--particularly the recurring cartoon escapades of Kandy Kat, the mascot for an entirely chemical dessert--and models herself on a standard of beauty that only exists in such advertising. She fixates on the fifteen minutes of fame a news-celebrity named Michael has earned after buying up his local Wally Supermarket's entire, and increasingly ample, supply of veal.
Meanwhile B is attempting to make herself a twin of A, who hungers for something to give meaning to her life, something aside from C's pornography addiction, and becomes indoctrinated by a new religion spread throughout a web of corporate franchises, which moves her closer to the decoys that populate her television world, but no closer to her true nature.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-05-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Kleeman's debut novel is a fever dream of modern alienation following A, a young woman living in an unnamed city with B, her roommate, who has a tendency to bite people when she feels cornered. A has a boyfriend, C, who makes things "suddenly, instantaneously normal, just by explaining them." But A's dull proofreading job and her idle time spent watching Shark Week and porn with C start fading away, and events grow increasingly hallucinatory as B begins trying to look more like A (including cutting off her braid and giving it to A), and C becomes more distant. This is a world in which a man buys a supermarket's entire stock of veal, and something called Disappearing Dad Disorder runs rampant. But the strange becomes increasingly ordinary as it's filtered through A's quest to efface herself: "I looked forward to fully becoming my own ghost, which I had been told would resemble nothing and would look uniquely like itself." In the third act, a religious cult in which members wear ghostlike sheets takes center stage; members subsist entirely on a synthetic dessert snack called Kandy Kakes and are instructed to "misremember" (erase their own memories through meditative concentration). Kleeman's story is not really like any other, but could be described as a blend of the nightmarish disassociation of DeLillo's White Noise and the phantasmagoria of Bergman's Persona. It's a testament to Kleeman's ability that the text itself blurs and begins to run together—that it seems composed more of a uniform, ephemeral language than of a series of discrete scenes. This is a challenging novel, but undoubtedly one with something to say. One wonders what Kleeman will come up with next. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME Entertainment. (Aug.)