Ivyland by Miles Klee
OR Books, New York, 2012
From my TBR pile, given to me by a friend. I think this one fits into the 2013 Sci-Fi experience, but it leans towards the Speculative Fiction end of things. I also just discovered it is in The 2013 Tournament of Books, along with several books I have read and several on my TBR list!
Holy crap..what a strange ride this is.
Based in Ivyland, New Jersey, a town taken over by Endless, a Big-Bio-Pharma company and dotted with MexiLickin’SurfHog fastest food joints, this reads like a nightmare shared by Philip K Dick and Thomas Pynchon with some Kurt Vonnegut thrown in for good measure. Ads run 24/7 on any surface available and through any sound system..The Van Vetchen procedure, a minimally invasive surgery that has saved untold millions of American lives, is now available through mobile immunization centers crisscrossing the country… Sounds scary, doesn’t it?
Traffic that doesn’t move, pharmaceutically- enhanced beverages, cops hired by corporations, a possible American near-future or maybe it is the present?
The chapters jump between characters and time periods so you never quite know where you are, an addictive adrenaline rush that made it hard to put down even though I wondered exactly what was I getting from this book. Klee’s writing was the reward.
He broods on this alternative, steepling his index fingers as glittering eyes sink into the grass. Anastasio shuffles his feet. The narcotic drone of cicadas strings the night like a handful of beads….Henry and Grady have moved on. They walk, weaving back and forth in the road to avoid roadkill and potholes, through another four intersections. I watch. Until they fade from sight, I let the flawed film unreel…Moonlight follows the same path, still touching them when I wipe my eyes and squint, wrapping their bodies like another skin when they finally meet the ink-blotted distance, Henri turning around, one arm still across Grady’s back, and examining the horizon to see if I’m there…
In the end this weird, unsettling novel is about friendship and about love. A strange mix, parts totally out of hand and parts wonderfully lyrical. I don’t know anything about Miles Klee, but think he is an author I need to watch.