Review: The New World

The New World

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:

From Indiebound:

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.

Goodness.

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.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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16 thoughts on “Review: The New World”

  1. A perfect candidate for the #Weirdathon and thank you for pushing ME to read it! I was not aware that you were aware of it before I became aware of it. I’m about 3/4 in and I just hit a WHA?! moment. And sure enough, in the middle of the book/app, I hit a screen with the Polaris image and it switched the swipe direction. It also has intemixed or changed the status updates and now I am totally confused with the time line. or if the app is broken!! but I’m not saying I am disliking it – very curious still. 😀

    1. I think the app is probably fine because I hit that weird moment too with the Kindle version. I could not tell if I was in the present of the past or the future.

    1. Cryogenics is so weird to think about but yeah, they preserve him for the future and all he can think about his the past. It’s a little sad, really.

  2. “reading this book made me feel as if I was trying to read it while OD’ing on Benadryl”- this is such a great way to describe reading a strange book! You sparked my interest by mentioning Murakami – I’ll add it to my TBR on Goodreads now – thank you! I’m excited to talk to you about this whenever I finally get around to reading it!

  3. I like how weird this sounds but after just coming off Beautiful Bureaucrat, I think I will wait before trying this. This one has just the description that makes me want to pick it up.

    1. The New World is at least short. I’m not sure I’d like it as much if it were longer. It seemed to have just enough weird without going over the top.

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