Occasionally, we get the opportunity to share our thoughts on the outside work of our past contributors, as well as other projects that we think would interest readers of A cappella Zoo. To send something for possible review, especially new work relevant to magic realism and slipstream, email us at editorATacappellazoo.com.
A novel by Liza Granville. BeWrite Books, 2009.
Liza Granville appeared in our debut issue with “A – Z, In Descending Order,” a short story which experiments successfully with form. Now, her newest novel reveals an mastery of experimenting with speculative concepts. And with our delicate future.
Until the Skies Fall is an intelligent, vivid depiction of a peculiar post-apocalyptic England. This tale reveals a reality that goes against the easy grain of right vs. wrong. As the back cover promises, the story “questions what it is to be human,” which Granville accomplishes most closely from the perspective of a unique character on the fringe of traditional humanity, Laz, who to many resembles an animal more than his own human or humanoid mother. He is accompanied by family, friends, a wise old seer, an android prophet, and other curious people of all shapes that he meets along a consistently surprising journey.
Laz is a hunter, an orphan rescued from a mysterious past, destined to rescue all “folk,” both homo sapiens and their mutant descendants, from a cataclysmic future. To do so, he must leave his primitive society, where folk come in every shape and size and treat the world as it is, and journey through a treacherous outside where folk insist on carving the world into what they believe it should be. The adventure is dangerous not only because nothing is as the world remembers it – now a dog-eat-dog, even rock-eat-dog world where an animal’s cry might be a sentient plea – but because the isolated societies within it have become obsessed with the remnants we left behind, symbols of our goals to achieve perfection at any cost: the crucifix, the Vitruvian Man.
You’ll cringe when you meet Marra: to some the Most-Perfect, to others a chillingly original monster. Follow Laz and his family into her city and then out of her clutches and beyond into greater perils – doomsday bishops, hungry swamps, putrid giants, mutant tribes – and greater tests of courage and understanding.
Laz is definitely worth knowing and loving. You owe it to him to devour his tale, to honor his legend. Delightfully surprised, I offer no criticism of this book. It is fantastic.
- Colin Meldrum, Editor, A cappella Zoo