A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year: In a dystopian future New York, a girl’s diary chronicles her life as society begins to crumble around her.
Until recently, Lola Hart’s biggest problem was her annoying little sister. Now the twelve-year-old girl’s once comfortable life is slowly falling apart. Her mother is a teacher, but she’s lost her job. Her father is a writer, but no one is buying his scripts. It’s gotten so bad that they can no longer afford their Manhattan apartment or the tuition for Lola’s exclusive private school.
They move to a small apartment near Harlem, and Lola enrolls in public school—but the Harts aren’t alone in their troubles. Riots, fires, TB outbreaks, roaming gangs, and civil unrest have become commonplace, threatening the very fabric of life in New York. In the pages of her diary, Lola documents her family’s attempts to adjust as the city and the country spin out of control.
Jack Womack, a winner of the Philip K. Dick Award, has been compared to both William Gibson and Kurt Vonnegut for his vivid prose and unbridled imagination. In this novel, “Womack’s stark vision of the United States’s decline is an uncompromising satire that, perhaps even more than it did in the mid-1990s, forces us to confront a world instantly recognizable as our own” (Los Angeles Review of Books).
“A heartrending coming-of-age story. Flecked with black humor, this is speculative fiction at its eerie best.” —Entertainment Weekly
A sort of prequel to his previous novels (Ambient, Elvissey, etc.), Womack's latest may be his best, a dark and riveting look at where our disintegrating, crime-ridden society may be headed. The only difference between Womack's near-future New York City and our own is that everything is just that much worse. Police and the National Guard patrol the poorer areas as though they were occupied territories; riot fires burn continuously in Queens and Brooklyn; jobs are as scarce as affordable homes and the streets are perilous. Womack displays this bleak world through the diary of 12-year-old Lola Hart, a student at a private girls' school whose financially strapped family moves to Manhattan's poor and troubled Upper West Side, on the edge of Harlem. There two new friends, Iz and Jude, teach her how to steal and instruct her in the ways of the mean streets. As bad turns to worse for her family, despair twists Lola into a vengeful killer. With a street-slick future-speak worthy of A Clockwork Orange and an unflinching eye for the degeneration of our cities, Womack portrays a relentlessly convincing tomorrow that will leave no reader unmoved.