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By M.R. Nesheim
M.R. Nesheim, $15.00, 357 pages

With Orwellian ambitions and a satirist’s eye, Nesheim’s novel offers a look into the forces of desire and inhibition within all of us. The plot takes place in the small town of Nede where the citizens have been so repressed that, following the deaths of their leaders, they prove all too easy to manipulate and corrupt. It is up to a pair of brothers to wade through the confusion in a search for truth.

From the novel’s opening, the story seems caught between a serious dystopian allegory and an amusing satire of the world we sometimes live in. The tone fluctuates awkwardly between these extremes, like in the beginning scenes which might be read equally as intensely foreboding or romantically risqué. This confusion is not helped by the prose itself which is, regrettably, often too much to handle. The narrative voice has a curious (and annoying) tendency to reiterate the points it makes, sometimes within the same sentence. The result is inefficient, bloated text, with paragraph-long sentences and page-long paragraphs that can distract from the events at hand. While the plot itself offers many valuable moments and more than a few laughs, the experience of reading this novel can be one of re-reading, so lost can a reader become in its labyrinthine prose.

Reviewed by Michael Weingartner

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