Latest News: Posts Tagged ‘Ivyland’

Full Stop interviews MILES KLEE

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Full Stop: From your popular blog Hate The Future (may it rest in peace) to the novel Ivyland to several stories in True False you have a distinct taste for dystopia—perhaps dystopia’s a bad word, but it sounds better than “sad stories about a future that’s kind of terrible.” Does this come from a place of fear? Entertainment? Shock and awe?

Miles Klee: Maybe dread? The future’s where we’re all gonna end up someday, man.

I also enjoy thinking about the things that will happen when I’m already dead.

To read the rest of the interview, visit Full-Stop.

MILES KLEE talks about “Everybody’s Bluffing” with Halimah Marcus on Electric Literature

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Halimah Marcus: In his introduction to the story, Matt Bell remarks on the range of styles in your writing. “Unlike most writers,” he writes, “who are so grateful to find something that succeeds that they end up mining that same patch of ground for most of their careers, Klee seems capable of writing any kind of story he wants, often starting by mimicking different genres and forms, then subverting those existing tropes to serve his own needs.” Is this range something you’ve intentionally cultivated? When write a story, to you set out to write something unlike anything you’ve written before?

Miles Klee: I’m lucky to have ideas at all. If one looks much different from another it’s surely because I’ve gone to the trouble of dressing them up in exotic new disguises—and the trappings of genre do go a long way there. When that stuff is working well, you get to be a virtuosic chameleon; the rest of the time, you’re blind in the wilderness. It’s a tricky sleight of hand, as Matt notes, that sets up an array of expectations to knock down. I’m not sure how conscious I am of this as it’s happening. Often I’ve just hit upon an inhabitable voice (e.g., the classic hardboiled narrator) that strikes me as lively and worth pursuit. I’ll let it spool out until a sharp left turn derails it—then I try to keep going. I guess that while I’m slavishly devoted to the styles and mannerisms of authors I admire, I remain a bit obsessional about narrative originality. A plotty resemblance to fiction another person has published can be unforgivable. A single repeated word can kill a whole page for me. It speaks to the fact that I’m trying to entertain and surprise myself as much as I seek to impress any theoretical reader.

To read the rest of the review, visit Electric Literature.

IVYLAND by Miles Klee is named a finalist in the 2013 Tournament of Books

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

A short time ago, in a barnyard far, far away, a bleary-eyed Rooster woke up from a dream. It had been a good dream. He was clucking around his pen, strutting his stuff, and there on the ground lay 16 of the finest works of fiction from 2012, all for him to shred, devour, and consume without mercy.

If you have no idea what we’re talking about, get ready: We are thrilled to announce the Ninth Annual Morning News Tournament of Books, coming March 2013.

Read about the tournament and the finalists in the Morning News

The New York Observer reviews IVYLAND

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

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

BOMB magazine interviews Miles Klee about his new book IVYLAND

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Rather than let the relentless absurdity of headline news get us down, my friends and I like to play the occasional e-mail round of “Real News or Onion Headline?” You’ve probably played some version of it before (or watched The Daily Show). It’s a good way of laughing to save our sanity, rather than altogether cracking up. My most recent entry that wasn’t from the Republican debates came from the sports world (which, much like the primary elections, is run by corporation-persons; in fact, probably many of the same corporation-persons!). It read: “Indiana Pacers’ Arena Renamed Bankers Life Fieldhouse.”

I thought of “Bankers Life Fieldhouse” when I came to a passage early in Miles Klee’s darkly funny debut novel, Ivyland. There’s a rolling blackout in the book’s eponymous town, and when the characters DH and Leviticus go outside to investigate, they register—with prescription drug subdue—a riot scene, apparently in response to the territorial encroachment of the town’s monopoly subsidizer, a faceless pharmaceutical corporation(-person):

If the bright new street sign isn’t a prank, Clark Ave. has been renamed “Bladderade Boulevard.” As in, the Adderade flavor that helps old folks with urine flow and control.

In this and so many other too-real moments, Ivyland hits too close to home to be read as a satirical lens on a bleak future—or even on a bleak near-future. Given the actual existence of once-civic gathering places now bearing names like Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the future has arrived. Ivyland’s vignette-like episodes, which alternate between banal and high-stakes absurdity, are definitely sketches of the end-times; but they spare us any finger-wagging didacticism about the perils of social media as substitute for real experience. Instead, Ivyland is preoccupied with the waning sense of place that sets in when every dimension of civil life is sponsored by your friendly neighborhood behemoth. Contrary to the techno-dystopia leanings of novels like Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad and Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, it’s not the gadgetry of social networking that alienates us from a sense of belonging in a world. It’s that the world is always and everywhere brought to you by . . .

Not funny ha-ha; more like funny uh-oh. Something, this place, our place in it, is at stake. “What strikes me as so funny,” DH observes after the riot scene, “is that nothing’s funny at all, and I take a moment to collapse with painful gasps of laughter that are themselves the funniest things and over too soon.”

Read the full interview in BOMB magazine

The Wall Street Journal reviews IVYLAND calling it “a stand-out among a recent spate of dystopian novels”

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Miles Klee’s intense debut, “Ivyland” (OR Books, 262 pages, $16), starts where “Arcadia” leaves off. At some point in the near future, the threat of a viral pandemic has led Americans to submit to a bizarre surgical procedure said to immunize them. But the procedure has grotesque side effects, and the corporation that provides it has become the country’s de facto governing body. Drug use and crime are rampant, and infrastructure is collapsing—even the Statue of Liberty has begun to slump over.

In jagged, non-chronological chapters, Mr. Klee follows a group of boys from a New Jersey suburb called Ivyland (likely meant to evoke Princeton). Their exploits play out alongside harbingers of End Times: anarchic violence, insect plagues and messianic cults.

Mr. Klee depicts the chaos with verve—he reads like J.G. Ballard zapped with a thousand volts of electricity. One drug trip yields a Book of Ezekiel-inspired doomsday vision of “Zeros spinning in the sky. Wheels, gears, interlocking in pairs and pairs of pairs, scrolling mosaics, transparent geometries brushing vision.” For all the flash, though, Mr. Klee is attuned to the individual behavior of his characters, who either try to preserve some measure of common kindness or speed the decline through amorality and solipsism.

Read the full review in The Wall Street Journal

Author Miles Klee talks with Interview magazine about IVYLAND

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

The world is a dangerous place. In Miles Klee’s Ivyland (OR Books), the author vividly imagines a violent future where a giant pharmaceutical company rules most of New Jersey. Spiked with the lusty, random bloodletting of A Clockwork Orange and Orwellian in scope, Klee redefines and redesigns the Garden State, writing of a landscape where cops are more brutal than the pill-popping gangs who run the highways and memories of a time before drugs and corporations controlled the lives of citizens are getting hazier with every medical induced high. In short chapters that focus on the various citizens of Ivyland, Klee captures humanity at both its most depraved and its most innocent: people who have been forced to live in a not-so-brave new world where weakness is met with death. We spoke with Klee about violence and how it can take us over, Google’s sinister information gathering, different flavors of Coke, revenge and medication.

ROYAL YOUNG: What happens when you become used to violence, even begin to expect it?

MILES KLEE: There’s an acceptance of chaos, a belief in a vengeful God, maybe. You probably stop seeing the causes of the violence as well. That’s why you have places where the cycle is perpetuated so easily.

Read the full interview in Interview

Bookmunch reviews IVYLAND: “When it shines, it shines gloriously.”

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Let’s play the Ivyland drinking game. What you do is, you search for a review of Ivyland online, and every time they mention Pynchon you have to take a drink. Pynchon’s shadow (drink) falls on Ivyland. Pynchon’s influence (drink) is, as I believe the Troggs suggested (though they might have been talking about something else, thinking about it) ‘all around’.

Which, depending on your thoughts on Pynchon, (drink) is either a good thing or a bad thing. Happily for me, we are talking here of the Pynchon (drink) of The Crying of Lot 49, not the Pynchon (drink) of, say, Mason & Dixon. The prose is thick but the book isn’t. Ivyland weighs in at under 250 pages. This sounds like an astoundingly ignorant observation but if your method is to try to push the methodology of the short story to the length of a novel, size does matter.

Ivyland is a broken, twisted novel. When it shines, it shines gloriously, but the reader does spend time trying to weave its splintered narrative into a whole, doing long division with plotlines when they should be concentrating on the story. It is not a novel for reading in five minute bursts. It demands your attention. Chapters are headed “Last Winter” “Thirteen Years Ago” “One Year Ago” “Last Summer”. Time flickers. Landscapes bend and shift as if seen through a trick mirror. People are moulded and remoulded, viewed through pharmaceutical and philosophical filters. Plotlines embrace each other in double helixes and stretch out to the horizon.

Read the full review in Bookmuch

The New York Observer announces our aquistion of Miles Klee’s debut novel IVYLAND

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Miles Klee, a copy editor at The Deal, has sold his first novel to OR Books. Mr. Klee is, perhaps, known best for his literary writing on The Awl; he joins the likes of Chris Lehmann in jumping from pixels on the site to paper-and-ink.

A source at OR Books indicates this is the first book deal OR Books, a print-on-demand publisher previously written about in these pages as an early partner of Emily Gould’s online bookselling venture Emily Books, has made with a first-time novelist. Today, Mr. Klee made a list on his personal blog of the rejections his short stories had received at the hands of editors.

Read the full article in The New York Observer

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