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Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

 

By Cory Doctorow

Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town Cover

Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town Cover

Alan is a middle-aged entrepreneur in contemporary Toronto, living in a Bohemian neighbourhood, doing up an old house. He lives next to a house of students, one of whom has batlike wings which she removes, rather brutally, but which grow back. Alan himself has a less than conventional background – his father is a mountain; his mother a washing machine; among his brothers is a set of Russian nesting dolls.

I am a huge Cory Doctorow fan – based on Down and Out In the Magic Kingdom and Eastern Standard Tribe and his terrific Boing Boing site. That said, this is a challenging read. Apart from the dream/nightmare-like world each male character will answer to any name beginning with the first letter of their introduced name and the descriptive passages to outline scenes such as Alan’s mother, the washing machine, giving birth to the Russian nesting dolls, are heavy going.

Doctorow’s edgy Raymond Chandler-meets-Bladerunner narrative style is well in evidence in this, his third novel, as much as it was in his earlier two, But even so it has a job on its hands to inject pace into this heavy fantasy.

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