cover image The Delivery

The Delivery

Peter Mendelsund. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-60042-6

Mendelsund (Same Same) explores identity, community, and the past’s power to influence the future in his stunning latest. In a bustling city, an unnamed food delivery boy lives on tips and star ratings, and sleeps in the warehouse that handles his assignments. A brusque woman named N. manages him, overseen by an ominous male supervisor. The delivery boy frequently remembers his past in an unnamed country ruled by a strongman, where he played in a youth orchestra and had a crush on a French horn player. When the delivery boy gives N. a necklace, he doesn’t get the reaction he’d hoped for, and both are compromised in the eyes of the supervisor. As images from delivery boy’s past become more frequent, such as details of the “tyrant” who ruled the country he fled from, the narrative becomes looser and offers up clues about why he became a refugee. Mendelsund conveys the delivery boy’s experiences and memories in brief crisp cuts separated by ample white space, where what’s not said takes on great importance. The author’s playful sense of form and command of language make for an original and provocative novel. Agent: Chris Parris-Lamb, the Gernert Company. (Feb.)