12 Down, 40 Left (52 Weeks, 52 Books)

The Paper Eater takes place mostly in Atlantica, a future island utopia ruled by Libertycare, where the citizens are referred to as customers, the political campaigns doled out as bargain basement sales, and the commander in chief a refrigerator-sized mainframe known as the Boss.

Our titular hero is Harvey Kidd, your basic family guy who’s amassed a small fortune by using his family’s various online accounts to conduct computer fraud. Harvey loves his family, the Hoggs. From crazy Uncle Sid to his usually topless sister, Lola, Harvey thinks the world of them. The funny thing though, is that the Hoggs only exist online, created by Harvey so he has access to their offshore accounts. Not that he loves them any less.

Equally emotionally stunted is exemplary Libertycare employee Hannah Park, mother-smothered and bubblewrap-addicted, Hannah Park’s put on Harvey’s case and discovers that there’s a lot more to the Hoggs than the Boss will let on.

Author Liz Jensen tries for an updated version of Huxley’s Brave New World, switching out mandated hedonism for rampant materialism, which could’ve made for an interesting premise… But she goes on instead to pick at the characters’ very uninteresting and frankly mundane neuroses and relegates the politics to a subplot. There’s a lot of hemming and hawing between the leads and a few predictable emotional growth episodes told with flashbacks. Amidst all this, Harvey chews alot of paper, and shoots the bull with his sequins-loving murderer cellmate John.

Of course, the evil empire is overthrown, the dead miraculously reappear (Screw the spoilers. Frankly, I don’t care) and couples have the requisite make out at the happy ending. Yay.

Really, this book is as boring as the guy on the cover is gray. Don’t bother.

The Paper Eater
(ISBN No: 0747553068) Check NLB Catalogue for item availability.

My next book will be The Sea and Poison.

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