The Sea Came in at Midnight

Steve Erickson, Author William Morrow & Company $23 (272p) ISBN 978-0-380-97766-6
Strip clubs, sexual slavery, Paris dreams, New York horror and California misery catastrophically define and entrap the troubled margin-dwellers inhabiting this penetrating dream vision of the post-nuclear world. At the center is Kristin, who escapes her fate as the last of 2000 women and children sacrificed in a millennialist cult ritual only to become the sex slave of a self-proclaimed ""apocalyptologist"" she knows only as the Occupant. The Occupant is obsessed with mapping out the world's increasingly bizarre eruptions of violence--many of which have shaped and twisted his own life--on an unconventional calendar that soon has Kristin at its epicenter. Another agitated, tormented character is Louise Blumenthal, aka Lulu Blu, the screenwriter of the world's first snuff film, a hoax that subsequently spawned actual murders. Louise seeks to absolve herself of her crimes by trying to save future snuff actresses and ritualistically vandalizing satellite dishes in L.A. Erickson (Days Between Stations; Amnesiascope) sends his agile prose careening ever deeper into these intertwined lives, their disturbing memories and often tragic choices following a kind of grim logic. This provocative novel is often funny but always serious and lush with insights that make its often outlandish elements eerily familiar. The razor-sharp narrative balances a nonchalant chaos with an unrelenting stream of violence and tenderness; even the most monstrous psyche in Erickson's ensemble of stoic na fs, murderous sadists and the sexually plundered is brilliantly rendered as not only sympathetic, but honest, vigorous and enduring. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 259 pages - 978-0-380-80658-4
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-0-7043-8143-8
Ebook - 259 pages - 978-1-4804-0997-2
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