cover image Event Factory

Event Factory

Renee Gladman, Dorothy (SPD, dist.), $16 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-0-9844693-0-7

Gladman's murky, eerie new novel (after To After That) leads a linguist into a foreign city on the brink of annihilation and creates for her a lonely foray into self-discovery. In the dystopian land of Ravicka, people speak in extravagant gestures, maps do not correspond to landmarks, the streets are swathed in smoke, and people are fleeing en masse. The narrator linguist has flown here to tour the city, but her interactions with the few and far between inhabitants are more bewildering than enlightening. She stays at a hotel run by Simon, who tries to offer helpful information, and meets a succession of guides, such as Dar, a foreigner who knows the city but can't speak Ravic, and Ulchi Managua, a transient who despairs at the vanishing state of his beloved city. Eventually, the narrator immerses herself in the Ravickian national literary masterpiece, Waiting ("famous for its pace: nothing happens"), but is tormented by the imprecision of the translation, a feeling that won't be unfamiliar to readers of Gladman's alluring if sometimes frustrating narrative. (Nov.)