Review by Booklist Review
One of our most visionary and fearless literary equal opportunity offenders is back with what is perhaps his darkest, most biting satire to date. Inspired by the ramblings of John Galt-ish, quasimythical Talbott Reynolds, groups of young men across the country conspire to overthrow the existing power structures on the eve of a third world war designed by the leading governments to cull the ranks of the burgeoning young male populace. These young men form lineages to claim their status in the new regime and rack up points by harvesting the left ears of their victims. The population is then forcibly resettled into the new states of Causasia, Blacktopia, and Gaysia. Palahniuk's razor-sharp insights and boundless imagination are matched only by his ability to make even the most stomach-churning scenes somehow vividly entertaining. If satire is meant to hold a mirror up to society and reflect our prejudices, vices, and hypocrisy, then it must be willing to pull no punches and offend everyone. Palahniuk offers a bare-knuckled flurry of jabs that is equal parts Jonathan Swift and Tyler Durden. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A muscular promotional campaign will launch this peak novel by unfailing sought after Palahniuk.--Kelly, Bill Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
The defiance of social order well-known from Palahniuk's Fight Club finds new-if stunted-life. As American society continues to fail the common man, the mysterious actor Talbott Reynolds appears on radio and TV promising a new system built truly by the people. Soon, copies of a blue and black book proliferate quickly underground through the U.S., speaking of an Adjustment Day that will bring power to the powerless. With the American government on the verge of reinstating the military draft, Talbott's followers rebel, killing and enslaving all journalists, politicians, and academics. New leaders arise from the rebels, creating three separatist states: Caucasia, which reverts to a medieval society; Blacktopia, which springboards into a magical and technologically advanced world; and Gaysia, a state consumed with outing heterosexuals and inseminating lesbians to keep the economy in balance. As misplaced citizens flee, others must hide in plain sight. One elder white woman blackfaces to awkwardly fit in, while a heterosexual couple passes as gay so they aren't permanently separated. The over-the-top premise is classic Palahniuk, but he stumbles in its delivery, focusing more on the farcical aspects of these societies rather than on the characters living in them, resulting in a thin story. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Palahniuk (Fight Club) joins Sinclair Lewis and George Orwell in Dystopia, where Adjustment Day is the culmination of an underclass revolution wherein whole legislatures and individuals with lots of votes on "the list"-the "elites"-are slaughtered. Its originator, a delusional geriatric named Talbott Reynolds, claims that the problem with America is ethnic and sexual mixing. So the country is divided: the Deep South becomes Blacktopia (and thrives), California becomes Gaysia (repression and unrest), and the rest becomes Caucasia (a weird paradise for the former underclass, a nightmare for others). -Palahniuk is a skilled stylist prone to complicated diction and gargantuan sentences. The book is also heavy with allusion: once in pursuit of a point, the author references in succession The Great Gatsby, Gone with the Wind, Valley of the Dolls, and his above-mentioned novel. There are traces of noir, magical realism, sf, and horror. It's all there, with the power to amuse, astound, and provoke, with material sure to offend (probably multiple times) almost everyone. Additionally, readers must get through several hundred pages to learn what happens to Hispanics and Asians. Nevertheless, it's a book for 2018. VERDICT Palahniuk is an acquired taste; those who have it will devour this, for others, it might be the place to start. [See Prepub Alert, 11/27/17.]- Robert E. Brown, Oswego, NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
An uprising in Portland, Oregon, leads to social revolution and terror in this relentless satire of our splintered times.Many writers have complained recently that current events are distracting them from doing the work. Clearly, Palahniuk (Make Something Up, 2015, etc.) has embraced the madness, crafting a dystopian nightmare that takes all the fractures of our modern society and escalates them to a perverted climax. The United States is on the brink of war, and millennials are expected to be mowed down by the thousands, a deliberate plan by a crooked senator to avoid an American Arab Spring. But two new developments emerge. The first is The List, an internet site where anyone can post the names of people they deem a threat to society. The more votes a person gets, the more danger they are in. The second is a revolutionary manifesto by a man named Talbott Reynolds that contains wisdom like "We must kill those who would have us kill one another" and is advertised with the slogan "A Smile Is Your Best Bulletproof Vest!" And then...Adjustment Day, during which The List's targets are exterminated, journalists murdered, and a "Declaration of Interdependence" setting new rules is written. Only those who killed are granted rights. They are elevated to the rank of barbaric "chieftains," their serfs marked by a severed ear. The country is split into divided states: "Blacktopia," "Gaysia," and "Caucasia." "Democracy was a short-lived aberration," Palahniuk writes, taking the anarchist conviction of Fight Club (1996) Project Mayhem and letting it run unchecked. Once Palahniuk turns society on its ear, it's a rich milieu in which the author can experiment with characters, form, style, and an acidic wit that savages social constructs, conspiracies, and norms with abandon. Or, perhaps not. "Palahniuk," Reynolds mutters. "All of his work is about castration. Castration or abortion."A caustic fantasy about emasculated men, power reversals, proletariat revolution, and extreme violence. Sound familiar? Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.