cover image The Mall

The Mall

S.L. Grey. Atlantic/Corvus (IPG, dist.), $12.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-84887-887-7

This debut collaboration of South African writers Sarah Lotz (The Three) and Louis Greenberg (Dark Windows) squeezes two young protagonists between dead-end realities and a horrifying if gratifying fantasy. Rhoda, losing track of her child at the Highgate Mall while buying cocaine, coerces bookstore worker Daniel at knifepoint to help search the service corridors and back entrances. Their journey rapidly goes south as seemingly familiar territory becomes more and more bizarre. Fleeing through flooded tunnels and decoding a deadly elevator trap, they escape into an altered version of the mall where sales staff are chained to their stations and emaciated and amputated models flaunt the latest fashions. Grey has fun with the misshapen reflection of consumer culture (bookstores offering Jesus Wants You to Be Pimp-Rich and arched eateries named McColon’s) but also has the sensitivity to allow characters to react naturally and to change from their experiences. Horror fans will enjoy this surreal and disorienting dream quest. (Aug.)