cover image The New Girl

The New Girl

S.L. Grey. Atlantic/Corvus (IPG, dist.), $12.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-85789-592-9

Grey, a joint pseudonym for Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg, effectively mixes horror and black comedy in this third novel (after The Mall and The Ward) of “the downside,” a weird alternate dimension that abuts our own. The latest immigrant from the downside is Jane Smith, the strange new student at Crossley College in Johannesburg, who’s planning to cull “browns” (i.e., humans) for transference to the downside . Her first victims are Ryan Devlin, the school’s lecherous maintenance man, and Tara Marais, a school library volunteer. Grey’s downsiders learn how to pass as humans by watching outdated television shows and movies, and their antics provide comic counterpoint to the missteps of the tragically fallible human characters. Though the plot meanders a bit, Grey provides a deliciously unsettling depiction of a deeply inhuman world that nonetheless aspires to imitate ours.[em] (Aug.) [/em]