Stanzi is two people in one. Gustav is building an invisible helicopter. China Knowles has swallowed herself. Lansdale Cruise can’t stop lying and so her hair grows and grows. There is a dangerous man in a bush, multiple bomb threats, and an adventure to a land of geniuses.
Oh gosh…this book is pretty indescribable, but I’ll try anyway. First, I LOVE THE COVER. It’s so simple and I was immediately drawn to it. I can honestly say that I have never read a book like this. I’ve seen it described as surrealist fiction and that’s really the best word to describe this book: surreal. It’s hard to determine what the rules of this world are. On the surface, it looks exactly like our world, but things keep happening that make me go, “Wait…is this real? Or is it a character’s imagination?” The whole time I wasn’t exactly sure what was true and was fake. Did China really swallow herself? Or was this just a representation of how she feels? But then Stanzi mentions being able to see China digesting…and don’t even get me started on that helicopter. Is it really invisible? Why can some people see it every day but Stanzi can only see it on Tuesdays and China and Lansdale can’t see it at all? I have so many questions!
Even though this book left me slightly confused, I still really enjoyed it. I really liked the short chapters and the overall tone of the book. The narration switched between a few different characters, and I found myself enjoying each voice. The short chapters helped the story to feel fast-paced. I kept telling myself I had time to read just one more chapter before bed. Next thing I know, it’s 30 minutes past my bedtime! The characters were all really interesting. Even though they had some surreal qualities, they all seemed more or less real. They struggled with real things, had real emotions, and talked in a real way.
The surreal aspects of this story were pretty playful, but at the same time a lot of the subject matter was actually pretty serious. These characters had to deal with divorced parents, rape, and another thing that I won’t reveal because I don’t want to spoil anyone. I’ll just say that it’s a SERIOUS thing. This is the first book that I’ve read by A.S. King, but I’ll definitely be looking into more of her books!
Overall Rating: 4
Sexual Content: Heavy. Nothing happens “on-screen”, but there are brief references throughout. One secondary character is mentioned to be “the neighborhood dominatrix”.
Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.