“A fascinating near-future exploration of relationships, sustainability, and power. An extraordinarily accomplished debut novel.” —Jeff VanderMeer, author of Borne and Annihilation
In the near future, Berlin’s real estatehas become more unaffordable than ever; artists are employed by corporations as consultants; and the weather is acting strange. In search of housing, Anja and Louis move into a community on an artificial mountain, where they’re offered a home rentfree in exchange for keeping quiet about the eco-settlement’s seriouslymalfunctioning infrastructure.
When Louis returns from his mother’s funeral, Anja is convinced he has changed. He seems to be in denial of his grief, consumed by a secret project at the NGO where he works. Anja is horrified when she discovers what Louis has invented: a pill called Oval that temporarily rewires the user’s brain to be more generous. Louis believes if he can introduce the drug into the Berlin club scene, he can remedy the inequality that has made Berlin so unlivable.
Oval is a fascinating portrait of the unbalanced relationships that shape our world, as well as a prescient warning of what the future may hold.
J. G. Ballard meets William Gibson meets Jeff VanderMeer. Oval is an up-to-the-minute story about the twilight zones of corporate design, aesthetics, pharmacy, and bioengineering, where there’s nothing consultants won’t break in the quest for ’innovation.’ What could possibly go wrong? Find out in Elvia Wilk’s crisp and stylish debut book.
Everything is work—mourning, clubbing, reading your partner’s moods. And everything is a scam—plants that become buildings, jobs that become consultancies, apps that become jobs. With astonishing emotional accuracy, Oval records what it feels like to hover between two poles.
Wonderfully clever and beguiling. The circle may be absolute, but the oval remains restless and bursts with potential.
As a social comedy of modern relationships and gentrifying Berlin, Elvia Wilk’s debut is exquisitely funny and exquisitely well observed. But it also has something weirder spliced into its DNA: fragments of the future that transform this story into a fabulous biopunk hybrid that’s not quite like anything else I’ve ever read.
With wit and precision, Elvia Wilk pinpoints the moment when neoliberalism metastasizes into something far more sinister.
A fascinating near-future exploration of relationships, sustainability, and power. An extraordinarily accomplished debut novel.
So good, so dark, so funny, so cruelly smart about where we are and where we’re going. This book is a petri dish growing a new strain of heartbreak. I’m sick with love for it.
Deeply weird and unsettlingly hilarious, Wilk’s dystopian debut pushes the grim absurdities of the present just a little bit further, into a near future that’s too plausible for comfort . . . The book’s true surprise is its startling emotional kick: If the circumstances are heightened to extremes, the relationships—with their delicate dynamics—are all too real. Witty and alarming, a satire with (unexpected) heart.
Oval is Don DeLillo’s White Noise updated for 2019 minus the satire of academia plus a layer of millennial discontent . . . Swift plot, lotta underlineable sentences, what’s not to love.