The New World
By Chris Adrian; Eli Horowitz
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374221812, May 2015, 224pp.
The Short of It:
A strange, surreal story about love and marriage.
The Rest of It:
The New World” is the story of a marriage. Dr. Jane Cotton is a pediatric surgeon; her husband, Jim, is a humanist chaplain. They are about to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary when Jim suddenly collapses and dies. When Jane arrives at the hospital, she is horrified to find that her husband’s head has been removed from his body. Only then does she discover that he secretly enrolled with a shadowy cryogenics company called Polaris.
What did I just read?
I’ve been wanting to read this book for months now. On Twitter, Care mentioned the iTunes app that was created for the book which of course made me decide on the spot to read it with her. I did not purchase the app myself. Instead, I read the Kindle book but it was one of the strangest reading experiences I’ve had and I’ve read Murakami!
Things happen. Jim’s revitalized self in the future spends a great deal of time hanging on to memories from the past. Mostly, of his wife, Jane. Even though Jane was not a perfect wife. Jane, spends her time trying to sabotage Polaris in order to set Jim’s mind free.
What makes this book such a trip is you never really know what is happening and when it happening. Is it a dream? Or a memory or thought planted by Polaris? Is it happening in the future… the past or the present? With Jim, this is easier to ascertain since there is a moment when he is in fact, without his head.
This is a very short book but full, and I mean full of beautiful passages but reading this book made me feel as if I was trying to read it while OD’ing on Benadryl. It has a sleepy feel to it. Dreamy, I guess. I felt sedated the entire time I was reading which is really strange because Jane’s part of the story is kind of frantic and urgent but somehow, I hung with Jim in his headless limbo.
I’m not even going to try to pick apart what I read in order to understand it. All you need to know is that it’s about marriage, the love between two people and maybe how the guilt of certain actions can shape a person.
Would I recommend it? Yes, if you are looking for something completely different (and short) I recommend it but know going in that it’s a bit of a mind trip.
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