Author: Wayne Gladstone
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Review By: Shana
Imagine it: one day, the internet mysteriously winks out. What would you do? In this brief novel, Gladstone attempts to answer the question with mixed results.
The style is interesting - something of noir meets satire meets unreliable narrator. Our main character is Gladstone (yes, same name as the author's), and after the internet goes kaput people wander about trying to make sense of an unconnected world. This is not meant to be a realistic depiction, but an almost farcical one. There are some decidedly funny parts where people struggle to interact in real life the same way they are accustomed to interacting online (there is a very amusing scene in a bar where people awkwardly attempt to only present themselves from their most advantageous selfie angle). But talking in spurts of 140 characters cannot fill the hole left by no WiFi. Gladstone begins a mission to figure out what happened to the internet. Bringing him into contact with strange people, subgroups, and a shadowy government.
The book can be a bit hard to follow, and we quickly become aware that Gladstone might not have a full grip on reality. You end up with some Kafka-esque situations and more than one interlude that feels almost (Philip K.) Dick-ian in its trippiness. But it just doesn't all hang together. The jolts of sharp humor are interspersed with bits that fall flat, and the incisive satire isn't consistent. In the end, the bits of true insight are not enough to carry an entire book (even a short one).
My love of reading was sparked in 3rd grade by the promise of personal pan pizzas via the BOOK IT! Program. Hmmmm... any chance that someone might give adults free food for reading? Asking for a friend...