cover image Corey Fah Does Social Mobility

Corey Fah Does Social Mobility

Isabel Waidner. Graywolf, $16 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-64445-269-1

Astrophysics and a mysterious literary prize propel the darkly funny and very strange latest from Waidner (Sterling Karat Gold). Corey Fah has won the 2024 Fictionalisation of Social Evils award in their unnamed city, known only as the “international capital,” where the language is inflected with Czech and Polish terms (their flat is in the Sociální Estate, and their partner’s name is Drew Szumski) and a “swampy part of town” is called Florida Rot. Unfortunately, Corey is unable to collect the prize money without the trophy, a hovering “neon beige” object they failed to obtain after the ceremony. Later, Drew tries to help find the trophy, and ends up going through a wormhole into an alternate reality consisting of a scene from a sexed-up Disney movie. When Drew returns, they convince Corey, who’s still desperate for the money, to go on the bizarre TV talk show St Orton Gets to the Bottom of It. Sean, the host, claims to have time-traveled from the 1960s, and he invites guests who believe they have found a wormhole. After it turns out Sean might know something about the trophy, Corey’s madcap and peculiar search grows increasingly thrilling. Waidner’s queer Kafkaesque romp is great fun. Agents: Katie Cacouris and Tracy Bohan, Wylie Agency. (Feb.)