cover image Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye

Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye

Paul Tremblay. ChiZine, $16.95 trade paper (275p) ISBN 978-1-92685-169-3

Tremblay (The Little Sleep) falters with this broad near-future political farce. Employee #42-9-33LB-A, who has never heard a real farm animal in his life, has left the City, which deports its homeless, for six years on the Farm, a highly regimented and restricted facility where even fruit and leaves fall to the ground only on schedule. The Farm is run by a “dehumanizing, environmentally toxic megaconglomerate” and is where the employee hopes to earn enough money to help out his mother. Chafing at all the rules, the narrator climbs a tree to eat a forbidden fruit, inevitably landing in serious trouble: incarceration in the Hole and a possible death sentence. The often sophomoric humor falls flat (one advocacy group is named Farm Animals Revolution Today, or FART), and the novelty of the conceit wears thin before too long. Agent: Stephen Barbara, the Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Sept.)