Cover image for The infernal : a novel
Title:
The infernal : a novel
Author:
Doten, Mark, 1978-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Minneapolis, Minnesota : Graywolf Press, [2015]
Physical Description:
426 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Summary:
"In the early years of the Iraq war, a severely burned boy appears on a remote rock formation in the Akkad valley. A shadowy, powerful group within the US government speculates: Who is he? Where did he come from? And, crucially, what does he know? In pursuit of that information, an interrogator is summoned from his prison cell, and a hideous and forgotten apparatus of torture, which extracts "perfect confessions, " is retrieved from the vaults. Over the course of four days, a cavalcade of voices rises up from the Akkad boy, each one striving to tell his or her own story. Some of these voices are familiar: Osama Bin Laden, L. Paul Bremer, Condoleezza Rice, Mark Zuckerberg. Others are less so. But each one has a role in the world shaped by the war on terror. Each wants to tell us: this is the world as it exists in our innermost selves. This is what has been and what might be" --
Language:
English
Contents:
Pt. 1. The death of the world -- pt. 2. Rebirth.
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9781555977016
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

A fierce, searing response to the chaos of the war on terror--an utterly original and blackly comic debut

In the early years of the Iraq War, a severely burned boy appears on a remote rock formation in the Akkad Valley. A shadowy, powerful group within the U.S. government speculates: Who is he? Where did he come from? And, crucially, what does he know? In pursuit of that information, an interrogator is summoned from his prison cell, and a hideous and forgotten apparatus of torture, which extracts "perfect confessions," is retrieved from the vaults. Over the course of four days, a cavalcade of voices rises up from the Akkad boy, each one striving to tell his or her own story. Some of these voices are familiar: Osama bin Laden, L. Paul Bremer, Condoleezza Rice, Mark Zuckerberg. Others are less so. But each one has a role in the world shaped by the war on terror. Each wants to tell us: This is the world as it exists in our innermost selves. This is what has been and what might be. This is The Infernal .


Author Notes

Mark Doten 's writing has appeared in Conjunctions , Guernica , The Believer , and New York magazine. He has an MFA from Columbia University and is the recipient of fellowships from Columbia and the MacDowell Colony. He is currently a senior editor at Soho Press and lives in Brooklyn.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Doten's artfully deranged debut novel, the "war on terror" is revisited as a feverish science-fiction odyssey starring disfigured versions of Osama bin Laden, Condoleezza Rice, and Mark Zuckerberg. In a desert in the Middle East, a possibly divine child with burned flesh sets a kaleidoscopic series of monologues in motion. "The traitor" Jimmy Wales is sent, as part of an amorphous conspiracy, to extract the boy using the Omnosyne, a destructive machine consisting of pure information. Bin Laden leads his "Blood Youths" in an increasingly bizarre series of experiments determined to unravel the boy's secrets. Adopted siblings Rice and L. Paul Bremer long for each other within the reaches of the sprawling American-occupied Green Zone. Roger Ailes rants about turtles. Folded into these transmissions is Zuckerberg and Nathan Myhrvold's Nintendo-esque struggle for "the cones of power," the vaudevillian misadventures of two survivors of a drone strike, and, most significantly, the poignant story of an American soldier missing a leg. Doten frames his post-historic "memory index" in virtuosic, antic prose, but his goal is neither purely satire nor surrealism for its own sake. Rather, his novel constructs a new language to confront atrocity and becomes in the bargain a story that truly thinks outside the cage. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

In the Akkad Valley early in the Iraq War, a U.S. soldier encounters a boy burned nearly beyond human recognition who is promptly made a prisoner, as it's believed that he possesses vital information. A discredited scientist with a "terrible apparatus of extraction" is then brought in, and the visions that spill from the boy in the voices of Osama bin Laden, U.S. officials, and more are recorded in computer documents invariably marked . VERDICT Something as utterly surreal as this narrative might be the only way to shed light on the ugly truth of war, as we see that for most of these players, the stage they strut on matters more than the tragedy of burned children. Challenging for all but sophisticated readers yet a brilliant imagining of what fiction can do. (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Google Preview