Wednesday, June 18, 2014

No Limit

by Holly Childs
Hologram 2014
Wow. This punchy novella totally blew me away. My head's still reeling from it days later. The promo calls it "sugar-rush prose" - which may be a big understatement - each page feels like another line of no-doz. This is dense, fast writing. Every sentence is manicured and processed for maximum impact, but it retains a strong sense of "flow". There's so much here that you could read it several times in succession without getting tired.

The story recounts the farcical adventures of a group of international internet addicts who go to a squat party in Auckland. Flights are grounded due to a volcanic eruption that cleverly parallels the disruptions of 2010 (when ash drifted into Europe from Iceland). The leading character is a girl who is actually named Ash. There's also Haydn, Misty, Dick, Mack, Fidget and Bassy. Narrative highlights include ridiculous sex scenes at the underground party, and two visists to an absurd internet cafe called "Ne Plus Ultra".

The defining feature of No Limit is however the prose. The sentence structure, content and composition are superb. There's a lot of name-dropping, hat-doffing to other artists, self-reflection and elements of postmodernism. There's also a lot of internet culture here, more than I can remember finding in any other novel. Other themes include bisexuality and fashion (as in clothes).  The writing wanders through a lot of esoteric territory but it remains accessible and has a great sense of humour.

My main criticism is that the narrative disintegrates somewhat in the second half. It becomes exhausted like a raver on the morning after and abandons whole characters and plot concepts. What happened to Misty and the green cosmetic? Is the book purposely being left open to a second installment?

I put a link to the bookseller up there to the left. You are doing yourself a disservice if you don't check this out.

No comments:

Post a Comment