cover image The Heap

The Heap

Sean Adams. Morrow, $25.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-295773-3

Adams’s debut, set on a disaster site in a strange alternate present, is an incandescent, melancholy satire. Orville Anders toils daily on the site of the collapsed Los Verticalés—a massive skyscraper. Every evening, he calls his brother, Bernard, a resident of the former tower who is somehow still broadcasting the radio show he hosts from somewhere in the rubble. Meanwhile, the bureaucratic chairperson of the Committee for Better Life in CamperTown stymies Orville’s friend Lydia’s schemes to oversee the upcoming visit of Peter Thisbee, the eccentric entrepreneur behind Los Verticalés, and share her views. After Orville rejects the radio station’s proposal that he begin mentioning brand names during the brothers’ conversations and they remove the phones, the calls continue regardless—in his own voice with painfully obvious product placement. As Orville investigates who is impersonating him, he stumbles into a violent, absurd conspiracy while Lydia abruptly gets her wish only to be hindered by Thisbee’s handlers. Excerpts from an oral history of the prior residents’ surreal life inside the tower provide a whimsically dystopian background to the main madcap plot. Fans of Borges and other inventive but piercing stories will revel in this offbeat novel. [em]Agent: Kent Wolf, the Friedrich Agency. (Jan.) [/em]