The Heap

Morrow. Jan. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9780062957733. $25.99.
DEBUT Los Verticales once stood five hundred stories tall, so broad from top to bottom that its residents comprised two groups, those who could still see natural light through their apartment windows, and the rest who had to rely on images on UV screens, guaranteed to “re-create 92 percent of the window experience.” When the building collapsed, its remains covered 20 acres of ground. Volunteers are digging it out now, searching for anything usable in the rubble. Orville’s brother Bernard, a radio journalist, was inside when the building collapsed. He’s still broadcasting. The show is a national hit. Orville calls in every night and talks with him. When he’s approached by the radio station’s parent company and asked to insert product brand names into conversation with his brother but refuses, Orville is shut off from any further communication with Bernard. Still, every night he hears his voice talking to Bernard, promoting the same products he’d refused to pitch. Things get steadily more menacing. Interspersed throughout are chapters detailing the skewed environment in which the complex dwellers lived, with the world outside not looking much better.
VERDICT Adams’s debut is an effective, jolting dystopic novel that should appeal widely. [See Prepub Alert, 10/22/19.]

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