cover image Zulus


Percival Everett. Permanent Press (NY), $22 (248pp) ISBN 978-0-932966-97-1

This idiosyncratic, apocalyptic novel set in the post-thermonuclear future unfolds as the thoughts relates the story of grotesquely fat Alice Achitophel, the last fertile woman on Earth. After being raped in the first chapter, she is discovered by rebel forces and brought to their secret hideaway to bear her child in seclusion. But then a strange phenomenon transforms Alice into a slender young woman whom even her rebel lover, Kevin Peters, doesn't recognize. Has she had her child? Is she still pregnant? She herself doesn't know. She returns with Kevin to the city, to live with him and another woman and work anonymously in a hospital, until at the last moment we discover what has happened to the planet and how Kevin intends to change the course of humankind forever. Everett's ( Suder ) synthesis of sci-fi plotting, black comedy and abstract prose creates a dense, grotesque but surprisingly readable novel. (Feb.)