Putting aside the question of nature versus nurture and focusing on the (semi-)recent ruling in New York regarding gay marriage, it is possible to imagine proud parents George Saunders and Philip K. Dick (using Margaret Atwood as a surrogate mother) raising Miles Klee’s Ivyland (OR, 250 pages, $16.00) as their own lovechild. The features of all three great authors (and doting parents) can be found in this first novel: a somewhat dystopic present/future; mandatory and recreational drug abuse; nature gone wild; protagonists prone to accidental violence; shadowy government and corporate agencies; miracles; terrorism; New Jersey.

Mr. Klee, 26, whose prose has appeared on The Awl and in McSweeney’s, Vanity Fair and various other very hip publications (including this one), has tackled—successfully—an oversaturated subject: his generation’s obsession-with-slash-suspicion-of the pharmaceutical industry. (Full disclosure: The writer of this review is familiar with Mr. Klee through New York publishing circles, and once punched him at the Brooklyn bar Last Exit.) The book is set in Ivyland, N.J. (no relation to the real borough of Ivyland, Pa.). Some of this plays out in the grand tradition of science fiction satire: children are required (or advised) by the government (or a pharmaceutical company called Endless) to get a quick, painless procedure—the Van Vetchen operation—which uses a patented brand of anesthetic gas called Hallorex, produced by Endless.

Read the full article in The New York Observer

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