Ian Mond Reviews My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Mosh­fegh

My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Mosh­fegh (Penguin Press 978-0525522119, $26.00, 304pp, hc) July 2018.

I’m sure if it was feasible a number of us would jump at the idea of hibernating for an entire year. Anything to avoid the ongoing horror show currently masquerading as politics. It’s certainly the plan of the unnamed protagonist in Ottessa Moshfegh’s new novel My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Except she isn’t ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Suspended in Dusk II, Edited by Simon Dewar

Suspended in Dusk II, Simon Dewar, ed. (Grey Matter Press 978-1940658971, $13.95, 257pp, tp) July 2018.

It’s shocking that I can’t remember the last time I read a horror anthology. Back in the day – in my late teens and early twenties – horror anthologies were my bread and butter. Whether it was Dark Forces, Prime Evil, Splat­terpunks: Extreme Horror (volume 1 and 2), Midnight Graffiti, or Little Deaths, these ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Chercher La Femme by L. Timmel Duchamp

Chercher La Femme, L. Timmel Duchamp (Aq­ueduct Press 978-1619761476, $19.00, 320pp, tp) August 2018.

L. Timmel Duchamp’s eighth novel, Cher­cher La Femme, might have been more than 20 years in the making, involving numerous re-writes and multiple critiques, but I can report that the final product justifies the effort.

The book’s premise is simple enough. A rescue mission is sent from Earth to the far-off world of La Femme to ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Emissary by Yoko Tawada

The Emissary, Yoko Tawada (New Directions 978-0811227629, $14.95, 138pp, tp) April 2018. As The Last Children of Tokyo, Yoko Tawada (Portobello Books 978-1846276705, £9.99 144pp, tp) June 2018.

The unsettling premise of Yoko Tawada’s short novel The Last Children of Tokyo (published as The Em­issary in the US), translated by Margaret Mitsutani, is that the adults of Japan are living longer while the children are dying before they reach maturity. ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Freshwater, Akwaeke Emezi (Grove Press 978-0802127358, $24.00, 229pp, hc) February 2018.

Akwaeke Emezi’s debut novel Freshwater is a book that refuses to be pigeon-holed into a literary or genre category. The back-cover copy, with its talk of alternate selves and splintered personalities, suggests the story of a young woman struggling with a dissociative identity disorder. However, the opening chapter’s account of spirits possessing the body of an infant bears all ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Condomnauts by Yoss

Condomnauts, Yoss; translated by David Frye (Restless Books 978-1632061867, $16.99, 208pp, tp) July 2018.

The instant I saw the cover of Yoss’s Condom­nauts on Twitter I knew I was going to read it. Cherry red lips caught in a moment of ecstasy; the teeth and tongue replaced by a starfield. It’s a cover, matched with a lurid title, that promises alien sex, not a subgenre I generally gravitate toward – ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Dragon’s Child by Janeen Webb

The Dragon’s Child, Janeen Webb (PS Pub­lishing 978-1-786363-19-0, £15.00, 208pp, hc) May 2018.

Janeen Webb’s novella The Dragon’s Child opens with Lady Feng, a wealthy Hong Kong businesswoman, deciding to “stretch her claws” on the first day of Chinese New Year (The Year of the Dragon). Assuming her true dragon form, Lady Feng circles a remote village where she spies a tasty morsel of meat. It’s only after she gobbles ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Buried Ark by James Bradley

The Buried Ark, James Bradley (Pan Macmil­lan Australia 9781743549902, A$14.99, 272pp, tp) May 2018.

James Bradley’s The Buried Ark begins where the first book of The Change, The Silent Invasion, ends: Callie is lost in the Zone, confused and frightened until she hears the impossible voice of her father say her name. For those of you who haven’t read The Silent Invasion (you really should because it’s terrific), the Zone ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman

Theory of Bastards, Audrey Schulman (Europa Editions 978-1609454371, $18.00, 416pp, tp) April 2018.

There’s quite a bit to chew on in Audrey Schul­man’s magnificently titled Theory of Bastards. It’s a novel that tackles chronic pain, our reliance on technology, climate change, and the mating rituals of humans and bonobos. The thread that ties these issues together is the field of Evolution­ary Psychology, the attempt to understand human nature through the ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider, Stephen King (Scribner 978-1501180989 $30.00, 576pp, hc) May 2018.

According to Grady Hendrix, who spent a couple of years re-reading Stephen King’s published work for Tor.com (it’s a magnificent undertaking, and you should absolutely check it out) King has written 10 novels where the death of a child is central to the plot. With the release of The Out­sider, that number can be increased by one. This time ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Gone Away Place by Christopher Barzak

The Gone Away Place, Christopher Bar­zak (Knopf Books for Young Readers 978-0399556098, $17.99, 304pp, hc) May 2018.

On May 31, 1985, a series of devastat­ing tornadoes swept through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario, Canada. To this day it is the largest outbreak to hit the region, leaving 90 people dead, thousands injured, and amassing up to a billion dollars’ worth of damage. Christopher Barzak was ten years old when ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews I Still Dream by James Smythe

I Still Dream, James Smythe (The Borough Press 978-0007541942, £12.99, 400pp, hc) April 2018.

James Smythe’s gripping, decades-spanning new novel I Still Dream begins with 17-year-old Laura Bow hiding a recent phone bill from her parents. She knows it’s a delaying tactic: her stepfather will eventually discover the charges she’s racked up, but access to the phone is a must-have. The year is 1997, the Internet has entered the mainstream, ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Trem­blay

The Cabin at the End of the World, Paul Trem­blay (William Morrow, 978-0062679109, $26.99, 288pp, hc) June 2018.

I’m not a fan of secluded countryside chalets where the 4G is patchy, there’s no wifi, and the closest neighbor is 20 minutes away. These places fill me with existential dread; every creak and whisper a possible axe-murderer out for an easy kill. Paul Tremblay’s The Cabin at the End of the ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews 84K by Claire North

84K, Claire North (Orbit 978-0316316804, $15.99, 480pp, tp) May 2018.

Since 2014 Claire North has tapped into a rich vein of high concept speculative thrillers. Starting with The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, each stand-alone novel has been framed around a straightforward “what if.” For example, what if there were people who, when they died, cycled back to the day they were born, but with all their memories intact? ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk

Adjustment Day, Chuck Palahniuk (Norton 978-0393652598, $26.95, 316pp, hc) May 2018.

Before Reddit, 4chan, Pepe, Men’s Rights Activists, and Incels, Chuck Palahniuk’s debut novel, Fight Club, explored how consumerism and the touchy-feely attitudes of the ’90s created a generation of disaffected, frustrated, angry men. Twenty-two years later and Palahniuk revisits this subject with his latest book, Adjust­ment Day, substituting capitalism and self-help groups with Social Justice Warriors and cultural Marxism. ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren

Tide of Stone, Kaaron Warren (Omnium Gatherum 9780615827995, $14.99, 374pp, tp) May 2018.

When the Time Ball Tower is first mentioned in Kaaron Warren’s terrific new novel Tide of Stone, I thought it was an invention of the author. I had no idea they existed and that I’d been liv­ing near one my entire life. For those, like me, ignorant of this ancient time-keeping device, a Time Ball is an ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

Red Clocks, Leni Zumas (Little, Brown and Company 978-0316434812, $26.00, 368pp, hc) January 2018.

Given that both novels deal with reproductive rights under a repressive regime, it’s not surprising that critics would compare Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks with Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The key difference is that while Atwood’s classic is a dystopia where a Christian theocracy has established control, Zumas’s novel is set in the here and now. ...Read More

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Ian Mond reviews Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

Gnomon, Nick Harkaway (William Heinemann 978-1785151279, £14.99, 704pp, hc) November 2017. (Knopf 978-1524732080, $28.95, 688pp, hc) January 2018.

I know I’m late to the work of Nick Harkaway. I’ve meant to read his fiction since the publication of The Gone-Away World back in 2008, I even bought the book, but, for whatever reason, never cracked open the covers. I was planning on picking up Gnomon, until I saw it was ...Read More

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Ian Mond reviews Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi

Frankenstein in Baghdad, Ahmed Saadawi, translated by Jonathan Wright (Penguin Books 978-0143128793, $16.00, 288pp, tp) January 2018.

Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad places the eponymous monster amongst the suicide bombings and devastation of Baghdad in 2005. It opens with an attack on Tayaran Square where a soul, torn from its body, finds a home in a vacated corpse. It’s no ordinary cadaver, but rather a stitched-together amalgamation of parts, the ...Read More

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