cover image LaserWriter II

LaserWriter II

Tamara Shopsin. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (224p) ISBN 978-0-3746-0257-4

Illustrator, cook, and memoirist Shopsin (Arbitrary Stupid Goal) mixes the stories of a scrappy Mac repair shop’s employees with a history of digital technology in her unconventional and captivating debut novel. Shopsin follows 19-year-old Claire as she begins a new job at TekServe in mid-1990s New York City. Here, Claire finds an eccentric but compassionate family of co-workers and a newfound passion for the intricacies of printer repair. She’s trained by Joel, a Berklee College of Music grad who begged for a job there after his music internship ended. Shopsin cleverly evokes the era with a mix of historical and fictionalized references, as Claire’s interest in punk music and social justice prompts her to volunteer for Food Not Bombs at Big Squat on Avenue B, a stand-in for C-Squat, where the members of a band named Hookworm 68 all live. Shopsin also delves into TekServe’s origins as a tape player manufacturer; the emergence and extinction of Apple’s laser printer; and includes snappy origin stories of figures such as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, all punctuated by pixelated illustrations evoking the aesthetics of MacPaint (Claire recalls being “mesmerized by the marching ants of the marquee” when she used the program as a child). This singular project brilliantly captures the spirit of individuality, innovation, and change. Agent: Anna Stein, ICM Partners. (Oct.)