The Readymade Thief

Augustus Rose. Viking, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2183-3
The 17-year-old heroine of Rose’s debut novel, a richly detailed intellectual thriller set in contemporary Philadelphia, has already been through an adventurous childhood and adolescence when she ends up in juvie, set up by a former friend for a crime she hasn’t committed. Not that Lee Cuddy hasn’t earned her stay there: a natural-born shoplifter, she has also sold enough drugs to accumulate thousands of dollars in cash. Escaped from prison, she winds up in a creepy, cultish home for runaways and then goes on the lam with Tomi, a gentle Czech boy who has a talent for data retrieval, a taste for urban exploration, and a passion for the work of French artist Marcel Duchamp (whose “readymades” cemented the idea that ordinary objects could be considered art if their assembler defined them as such). After Lee steals a satchel from the office of the cult leader, she finds herself pursued by the mysterious Societe Anonyme, which is involved in the production of designer drugs. While Rose may put in one too many obscure references to alchemy and unified field theory, Lee is an excellent character, and the many shadowy settings she travels through make for a fascinating vision of an alternate, underground Philadelphia. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/26/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-7775-3
Ebook - 978-0-7352-2185-7
Library Binding - 500 pages - 978-1-68324-537-7
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