The premise of Mattson’s debut could have overtaken his story, but doesn’t. The novel contains 80 film reviews written by critic Noah Body, who lives in a future where water usage is monitored and those who live in the Zone have microchips. Body’s reviews are the cynical underpinning for the novel’s primary story of his own life ... Writing reviews that no one reads of films he doesn’t respect has worn Body down to the point that making art is a matter of survival: he must make his own film. Is it enough to redeem him? Mattson’s intelligence, in the form of...observations and acrobatic language, takes the novel’s center stage.
This eccentric debut by Mattson offers a deviant take on the epistolary novel by couching its sad tale of regret in the pages of 80 movie reviews. Our esteemed author is professional nobody Noah Body, one of two film critics for a content aggregator ... Body’s world is kind of a mess after some unknown blight locals call 'the crisis,' with neighborhoods divided into safe zones and places like 'Mini Aleppo,' where Body lives; citizens 'chipped' with GPS trackers; and travel taking place by suborbital 'slingshot' capsules ... The gimmick of the novel, the 80 phantasmagoric films that Body critiques, is dryly funny, but readers may tire of Body’s deadpan, aristocratic wit despite his outlandish surroundings ... A potentially hilarious cogitation on art and artists that fails to fully exploit its comic potential.
A movie critic certain no one reads his reviews fills them with details of his personal life in this sharp, funny debut set in America’s Central Hub some time in the future ... Noah’s strong opinions and acerbic humor, though entertaining to the reader, undermine his own personal relationships, including the burgeoning romance with a doctor he consults because he believes himself possessed by his ex–best friend ... With weapons-grade wit, Mattson satirizes movies, reviewers, and life in the data age. Even the almost-touching scene when robotic AlmostPerson Lawrence observes a sunset ends in edgy irony. Mattson’s novel is rife with humor and inventiveness.