Ivyland

Miles Klee
Miles Klee. OR (www.orbooks.com), $16 (250p) ISBN 978-1-935928-61-4
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Set in Ivyland, a New Jersey town that has been purchased and completely taken over by Endless Nutraceuticals, a mysterious and possibly sinister pharmaceutical giant, Klee's debut novel follows the interconnected lives of a menagerie of Ivyland residents as they attempt to live in this postmodern wasteland of drugs and despair. Central to the plot are Aidan and Henri, a pair of bumbling friends who must reckon with a group of pilgrims camping out on their front lawn, as well as their growing realization that their lives are going nowhere; Cal, Aidan's astronaut brother whose mission to the moon is coming to a catastrophic end; and DH, a desperate addict who finds himself assisting a renegade surgeon as they travel across America in search of gullible patients and their next fix. Wildly hopscotching its way through time, the novel offers some haunting imagery and poignant moments, but after a delightfully manic and sharply intelligent first half, the novel stagnates, burdened by the necessity of resolving the multiple plots it has set in motion. Klee is undoubtedly a formidable talent in the making—he can make sentences crackle with an intensity and humor not seen since David Foster Wallace—but in the end, his highly ambitious premise proves too much for him. (Mar.)
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