The Gone-Away World
Booklist Reviews 2008 August #1
*Starred Review* In a postapocalyptic worldâ€"made so by a weapon whose evil-genius creator didn't quite think through the complications of actually using itâ€"a man makes a journey of self-discovery that is unlike anything we've seen before. Though the earth and its atmosphere have been savaged beyond imagining, a pipe girdles the globe, dispensing chemical salvation and creating a narrow â€œLivable Zone.â€ In the book's breakneck, bravura beginning, the pipe is on fire, and our hero and his friends, a roughneck gang of former soldiers, are the only ones who can put it out. A flashback, half the book long, introduces the hero's lifelong friendship with the wildly charismatic Gonzo Lubitsch, their education and intellectual development, and their roles in the Go Away War. They get the fire out, but their relationship is severed, providing the impetus for the book's surprising second half. This first novel is writing of the first order, with forehead-smacking takes on international relations (â€œNow that this place exists as a war zone, everyone feels it would be rude not to use itâ€), the military mind-set (with its â€œsaving grace of hierarchyâ€), and government by corporation (the massive cooperative effort that saves the ruined world is quickly co-opted by the cost-benefit crowd). But at the heart of The Gone-Away World is a meditation on the very nature of what makes us human. Funny, digressive, dark, and possibly optimistic, Harkaway's debut displays ingredients of Catch-22, Dr. Strangelove, and The Road Warriorâ€"with maybe a pinch of Pynchon and a sprinkling of Vonnegut. But for all that, it's its own heady brew. Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2008 May #1
There's a fire in the Jorgmund Pipe, and Gonzo Lubitsch and his pals at the Haulage & HazMat Emergency Civil Freebooting Company had better fix it, or the Gone-Away World is done for. John le Carre's son makes a debut. With a 100,000-copy first printing; national tour. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
LJ Reviews 2008 September #2
Harkaway has created a monster. Although his debut has been compared to the work of Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut, this epic novel shares with them only the elements of war, satire, and irony (and a few references to Vonnegut's line, "And so it goes..."). This story is more concerned with the fantastical and supernatural underpinnings of war in a futuristic, technologically superior world in which there's a new weapon that wipes out enemies by making them "go away." Many bad side effects ensue, and an eclectic team of soldiers-turned-action heroes is hired to fix them. It's a futuristic doomsday tale of sorts, but it's also the story of an average guy, Gonzo, who must save both the world and a part of himself (literally) several times. The first part is a bit confusing without the later context. However, its humorous parts, mostly in the form of tangents and its accounts of sentimentality among manly men, are a lot of fun to read. Prepare for a multifaceted ride, a mixture of Apocalypse Now and Fight Club . Recommended only for larger public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/08.]—Stephen Morrow, Athens, OH[Page 44]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
PW Reviews 2008 July #3
This unclassifiable debut from the son of legendary thriller author John le Carr is simultaneously a cautionary tale about the absurdity of war; a sardonic science fiction romp through Armageddon; a conspiracy-fueled mystery replete with ninjas, mimes and cannibal dogs; and a horrifying glimpse of a Lovecraftian near-future. "Go Away" bombs have erased entire sections of reality from the face of the Earth. A nameless soldier and his heroic best friend witness firsthand the unimaginable aftermath outside the Livable Zone, finding that the world has "unraveled" and is home to an assortment of nightmarish mutations. With the fate of humankind in the balance, the pair become involved in an unlikely and potentially catastrophic love triangle. Readers who prefer linear, conventional plotlines may find Harkaway overly verbose and frustratingly tangential, but those intrigued by works that blur genre boundaries will find this wildly original hybrid a challenging and entertaining entry in the post-apocalyptic canon. (Sept.)[Page 147]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.