Something New Under the Sun
by Alexandra Kleeman
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Pub Date 03 Aug 2021 | Archive Date Not set
LONGLISTED FOR THE JOYCE CAROL OATES PRIZE • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, Time, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Vulture, Thrillist, Literary Hub
“An urgent novel about our very near future, and a deeply addictive pleasure.”—Katie Kitamura, author of Intimacies
Novelist Patrick Hamlin has come to Los Angeles to oversee the film adaptation of one of his books and try to impress his wife and daughter back home with this last-ditch attempt at professional success. But California is not as he imagined. Drought, wildfire, and corporate corruption are everywhere, and the company behind a mysterious new brand of synthetic water seems to be at the root of it all. Patrick finds an unlikely partner in Cassidy Carter—the cynical starlet of his film—and the two investigate the sun-scorched city, where they discover the darker side of all that glitters in Hollywood.
Something New Under the Sun is an unmissable novel for our present moment—a bold exploration of environmental catastrophe in the age of alternative facts, and “a ghost story not of the past but of the near future” (The New York Times).
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Evocative of Inherent Vice (the novel) and Under the Silver Lake (the movie). I kept picturing Cristin Milioti as the actress. This is part Hollywood satire and part drama of self-discovery. Probably because I'm forced to live the Hollywood satire on a daily basis, I found the dramatic elements more compelling than the satirical ones. I struggled to accept that an author whose novel was being adapted into a film would also work as a production assistant. The concept of manmade water and the apocalyptic climate change themes are very cool. Is either best served by a story about a movie getting made? Does including a storyline set at a commune on the other side of the country improve the overall narrative construction? You might think that the plot is disjointed in service of the themes. Some readers will admire this choice; some won't. Much of the prose is downright impressive. Kleeman is a genuine stylist.