From Publishers Weekly
A highly imaginative debut finds a stark Darwinian logic in a rigidly hierarchical society. In Holmes’s unnamed dystopia, everyone is ascribed a place strictly enforced by the police, with the young Bachelors bearing the responsibility of finding a wife, an accomplishment that will secure them a place in society. If, as in the case of protagonist Ben, a wife is not secured (due to a kind of perverse resentment and no money to order the requisite pale-colored courting suit), he falls to the retribution of the Brothers of Mercy, thugs who sweep down on the unsuccessful and conscript them as laborers and executioners. The story cuts between the plight of Ben, stuck in his black mourning suit unable to better himself, and a doomed, delusional character called Meeks, who lives in the park. Both characters—fatherless, steeped in sentimental memories of a long-lost childhood and the love of their mothers—now give off the stink of failure, and are by turns rescued and denounced by their brothers. Holmes has fashioned a terrifying and utterly convincing world in which the perfect human being is one stripped of all illusions. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.