Cover Image: The Marigold

The Marigold

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Member Reviews

“Wealth is always built in n bodies, on the sweat and blood and bones of others. Wealth comes from bodies. And bodies do not last.”

I really wanted to love this one. The cover is stunning. The plot sounds fascinating and has so much potential. Ultimately though, this one fell flat for me. More than once I planned on DNF-ing it, and then I’d read one more chapter. Then was over halfway through, so I forced myself to keep going.

The writing itself is really lovely and eerie, and I adored the chapters that detailed the lives of various residents of The Marigold. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough of them, and the mail cast just felt paper thin. 

Like the rest of the book, all the characters have potential, but they’re never explored enough for us to care about what happens to them, making the stakes feel not just low but non-existent.
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Here’s a little fact about my reading preferences…
I’m a freak for funky fungi fiction.

In a not-so-distant future Toronto, a city ravaged by environmental chaos & non-stop development, a new life form begins to take root underground. The Marigold, a multi-storied condo tower sits atop the surface, half-filled & deteriorating as a toxic mold infiltrates the dark recesses. Public health inspector Cathy Jin investigates the encroaching mold, while Sam “Soda” Dalipagic uncovers a secret cache of data during his ride share job, big businessman Stanley Marigold makes plans for his next tower, and 13 year-old Henrietta tries to find a friend who disappears into the depths of a sinkhole. Weaving together a multitude of storylines, Andrew F. Sullivan explores community, gentrification, and the human condition. 

This book is a wild & profoundly dark ride. Sullivan takes readers into the depths of a multitude of characters’ psyches, into the complexities of toxic traits like obsession, greed, biases, and hatred. The prose is eerily poignant & sheds light on uncomfortable topics. I’ll admit, I read a chunk & had to restart (mostly cause it was just cover pick for me & I hadn’t read the synopsis), but by the end I was highlighting almost entire pages. It’s definitely one for my forever shelf. 

Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read & review this new favorite.
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I gave this a four out of five stars, I really enjoyed this story. I like the mystery and the different POVs. I totally recommend this book, I want to add it to my collection once I get the chance to.
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Disaffection, gentrification, sinkholes, halted construction, slum landlords, unaffordable housing, heavy traffic, overworked city workers and underfunded departments, failing social services...these all make up Toronto in Andrew F. Sullivan’s latest novel. This could be the present day city, except for the regular bad storms and flooding, and a weird fungal growth called The Wet that appears in some city buildings. It’s hard to deal with, and dangerous if inhaled. There is little understanding of where it came from, and other than spraying it with an anti-fungal spray when it appears, no idea how to prevent it.

Sullivan presents a city ready to fall apart through a huge range of characters, some living in the buildings owned by the Marigold corporation, various corporation heads, including the Marigold's, a rideshare driver, kids living next to a halted Marigold construction project, and a mysterious figure known only as the gardener. 

We find out that the fungal infection is spreading to more buildings, people are disappearing, absorbed by the Wet, corporate heads are engaging in weird rituals supposedly designed to ensure the health of their profits and influence in the city, the gardener is performing the actual rituals to ensure the health of buildings, and, there also  appears to be a disembodied voice goading or chastising some of the people featured in the story.

There are lots of shocking moments, including the revelation that The Wet is sentient, and seemingly growing. Also, the overall picture Sullivan presents of Toronto is grim and disheartening. 

The huge cast makes it hard to at times to care about any one person, especially as there is a fair amount of jumping from person to person. Sullivan also includes lots of grimy, goopy yuckiness, as well as a nice tie back to ancient practices. 

I found this a slow read, and as already stated, pretty grim.  I didn't enjoy it, but I appreciated it.

Thank you to Netgalley and to ECW Press for this ARC in exchange for my review.
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I requested this book strictly for the sporror. I missed The Last of Us and wanted another story that took me into.

The story is told through many different viewpoints but there are around four main characters which is a lot for me to handle. Every one of these character’s stories felt necessary to progress the story. We revisited them regularly and it worked for me. There were however like 3 or 4 additional characters that you only met once and then they were never spoken about again. Those storylines I really could’ve done without. Overall I thought it was an interesting story, I love a fungal horror, but I would’ve enjoyed a different execution.
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A worthy read for sure if you're into stories that unfold through the eyes of many over time. It would probably be better on re-read for this reason. The mold/spore concept is definitely creepy and the dystopian Toronto setting is wonderfully described throughout.
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I sadly couldn't get into this one-- the concept was very cool, but I just couldn't get invested in all the different POVs. I'm sure there are plenty out there who will love this story
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2023 is the year of fungi and Eco horror and I am here for it!!

The Marigold takes place in Toronto of the future where fungus is among us and sinkholes are everywhere and anywhere. It's treacherous out there!

It's a liminal novel with lots going on, but it's all happening at a glacial pace. Very fantasy-meets-scifi. It was a tad long and slow for me, but I enjoyed it---even if I'm confused by what eventually happened
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If you read the Rivers of London fungus subplot and thought, or played one of the apocalyptic scenarios of the old World of Darkness (you know which one, Tzimisces!), or enjoyed Mexican Gothic and thought... "I WANT MORE OF THIS!" then The Marigold will be your cup of mushroom tea.

Follow a diverse cast of characters in an only slightly dystopian Toronto set 15 minutes into the future, where gigs have taken oper people's economies just like The Wet is taking over Toronto's overpriced and ultra-fragile homes. 

If you are subject to Toronto's real estate market, the less disturbing part of the book is the body horror. Frankly, it felt like a welcome sublimation of the the experience of trying to attain a modicum of stability in this city. Read The Marigold to put a face to this horror, Stanley is the perfect villain for our zeitgeist and we are all here for the ride.
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I really enjoyed The Marigold! I love the combination of existential horror and body horror with scenes that feel like they're straight-out of a corporate espionage or action-adventure movie. "The Wet" is a creeping, terrifying presence. Sullivan has a real talent for juggling multiple characters and plotlines. He uses them to build a sense of dread and make the world his characters inhabit stranger and scarier than it would be with a narrower cast. The world he presents, a near-future, dysfunctional, nightmare of a city, feels entirely too possible given the direction of climate change and rampant, corporate greed.
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Unfortunately I ended up DNF'ing this book. It has such a great premise and I like that it's told from different POV's. I just found myself zoning out during most of the POV's. And the ones that were the most exciting where seemed represented less in the story. 
If you like a really slow burn, this may be for you. I just wanted more excitement.
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The Marigold was an incredibly well crafted and beautifully written literary, eco-horror novel! As I was reading, I could not help to be drawn in by the prosaic satire and the structure of the story! 

Unfortunately for me, I did not find the characters to be compelling enough to carry the story. There were six POVs, and the author split time among them equally. This means, however, that you must be invested in a majority of the perspectives in order to fully enjoy the story. I found most of the perspectives initially interesting, but only a few held my attention through the entire novel. 

The stand-out perspective for me was Soda, a temporary ride-share driver who has been unable to find an office job and whose father is a conspiracy theorist. I found this character and his life situation to be realistic (excluding the speculative parts of the story).

I would recommend this book to those looking for satire on capitalism, corporate greed, landlord-ship, and development at the expense of quality. Thematically, this book reminded me a lot of The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (plus the eco-horror speculative elements that are more prevalent in this story.) 

Thank you to NetGalley ECW press for a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review!
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Real estate satire should be a bigger genre. But outside of High Rise I can't think of anything that really grabs the lapels of property developers and shakes as hard as it should. The Marigold gives it a go, taking the idea of a high-end high rise, its inhabitants, the shady business around putting them up and selling units and then blending that with a fungal zombie horror. That sounds like a big swing, and sadly The Marigold mainly missed for me but not due to lack of ambition. 

The Marigold tries to play both ends against the middle with its format. On the one side there are a collection of vignettes, various people living in different units of the Marigold 1, and their own lives which are broadly unsatisfactory (hint, buying a high end unit in a swanky but failing building does not bring the happiness it deserves). There are a few storylines and plot threads that the book returns to though. There is a line around a man who makes human sacrifices - seeds - for new building projects, dumping corpses into foundations for cash to ensure good luck in the development. Then there are the public health team investigating a fungal disease called The Wet, which starts as damp patches but soon seems to suck individuals into its hive mentality embrace. The problem is the allegory on both of those storylines is painfully thin, and add that to the other recurring throughline of the second-generation developer not appreciating "the old ways" and the foundations of the books are actually a bit shaky. These take over as the book gets to the end, and at least have recurring characters who are worth following, but by this point the vignettes start to lose any force (partially an issue because they start so strong).

The Marigold works best as broad satire. The actual emotional engagement with the characters is quite thin (I think I probably connected with one, who is probably the only "good" person in the book). But the problem is the scenario becomes so outlandish by the end, the fungus and the ritual murders, that having deviated from any sense of reality its satire is diluted. Picking one or the other of those satirical lines and it would probably have worked a little better.
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Thank you NetGalley and ECW Press for providing me with an ARC of this book.

The Marigold is a chilling eco-horror told through the perspectives of multiple characters from different walks of life. Each of the characters are unique and well developed, but my favorite POV’s were the single chapter stories told from the perspectives of The Marigold’s tenants. These chapters help to weave a more complex tale about The Wet and its behavior as it preys on its victims. It reminded me of the Southern Reach Rrilogy by Jeff VanderMeer in some ways! Would definitely recommend it to those who enjoy eerie and suspenseful sci-fi!
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I think this was had a very interesting concept and even more interesting conversations. For me though, I struggled to get in and finish this story. There were a few too many characters that I didn't care to follow and the ones I did, didn't have the time allotted for me to get invested. 

I wish I would have liked this but it really wasn't for me. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-arc.
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This was a dark take, focusing on a slowly spreading fungal infestation in Toronto. The imagery was strong and horrific, an upsetting embodiment of greed and selfishness. At times, the different points of view were challenging to distinguish, but it was an overall compelling read that portrays the worst aspects of society.
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his is a crazy read about the city of Toronto in a dystopian future where there’s random sinkholes opening up and a sentient fungus coming up through the car parks and drainpipes of apartment buildings. There’s a range of characters from all sectors of society but it centres around ‘The Wet’ and the health department can’t keep up with it. It’s quite a chaotic read but I enjoyed it.
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The Marigold by Andrew F. Sullivan 

Thank you to Netgalley and ECW Press for an eARC copy to read and write an honest review. 

This book is about the Marigold, a hotel that was built quickly and not at all the way a building should. Stanley's grandfather had the building built, and now they have plans to build the Marigold II. But it's built on rituals, and it crumbles around the tenants that currently live there. Should the Marigold II be built, or should the original Marigold just be destroyed?

This book has a unique storyline that I am unsure if I understand correctly. There is a weird ritual that helps keep the Marigold…alive?... and I didn't really understand the ritual as a whole. There's a monster living under the hotel that takes people and infects them, going as far as killing them as well. This book plays with the aspect of body horror, and that's really not my thing, but I didn't realize that going into this book.

There were also a fair number of perspectives in this story. With a building that has a lot of tenants, I understand the want to add many different perspectives to show the life throughout the building. But some of the points of view didn't seem necessary toward the story, and all of the many different perspectives seemed to slow the pacing of the story down toward the middle of the book. I also couldn't connect with many of the characters because of how many characters P.O.V. we get. 

The ending was a little disappointing for me. It seemed to only give a couple chapters to end the story in a really quick way, and we don't get a lot about what happened to some of the characters. This story definitely was not for me. I think the author has a great mind for imagination, and their writing style is even easy to read, but the pacing and all of the perspectives really threw me off.

The great thing about books is that not every book is for everyone. I may not be the targeted audience for this book, but I know there are others out there who will really enjoy this book. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes dark stories with body horror, but please read any trigger warnings for this story.
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In a near-future Toronto buffeted by environmental chaos and unfettered development, an unsettling new lifeform begins to grow beneath the surface, feeding off the past.

I found The Marigold to be a very interesting and entertaining dystopian read! Although the storyline dragged at times, the concept was completely original to me. I had never read "body horror" or "eco fiction" prior to this book and it was compelling. 

What I enjoyed most were the completely separate, individual stories that acted as mini novellas, dispersed throughout the book. They helped break-up the sometimes slow moving plot. Overall, I would recommend The Marigold for fans of dystopian novels.

Thank you to @netgalley and @ecwpress for letting me preview The Marigold.
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“No one wanted to admit a building could fail, not unless there was something bigger and better to replace it. The world of towers didn’t allow for failure. … A tower that fell removed itself from the skyline. A tower that fell was a judgement.”

My thanks to ECW Press for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Marigold’ by Andrew F. Sullivan. 

I am a fan of fungus based science fiction and horror and so this dystopian novel set in a near-future Toronto definitely appealed to me. 

It features an ‘unsettling new life form’ that is growing below the surface. Add to the cover art and yeah it’s pretty clear that there’s an evil mould on the loose in The Marigold, a gleaming condo tower. 

The actions of a group of characters are followed throughout the novel. While there were parts that held my attention, unfortunately I found the jumping about between characters left me feeling rather disconnected from both them and the plot. I also found the body horror off putting, though I know that it is meant to be.

Overall, I concluded that ‘The Marigold’ was just not my cup of tea though I expect that it will appeal to readers more into this style of weird horror fiction.

2.5 stars rounded up to 3.
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