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The Book Room, Issue 39

Spring reads: Jacob Wren, Julie Booker, R.T. Naylor and more.

Jacob Wren has a knack for great titles. One of his previous novels is called Families Are Formed Through Copulation, and the name alone should nudge you to read Revenge Fantasies of the Politically Dispossessed (Pedlar Press). Loosely centred on a love triangle and an endless cycle of activist meetings, this series of dystopian vignettes is both self-aware and earnest in equally excessive measures. “If I cannot write the greatest novel ever written then perhaps I can write the worst,” chapter two’s narrator gloomily intones. Revenge Fantasies has its flaws—a wholly unnecessary chapter about a ruthless political operative, for example—but if Wren set out to write a terrible book, he has failed. This is an unflinchingly political work that deserves a much wider audience.
—Drew Nelles

In Hélène Rioux’s Wandering Souls in Paradise Lost (Cormorant Books), translated from the original French by Jonathan Kaplansky ...

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