Outstanding ... A very funny, very contemporary fable plays out as the novel entertains the absurdities of a world in which politics skews every aspect of daily life, from conversation to cuisine ... Comic.
Not daunting ... A comic tale ... Taranto also mines character names for humor and their aptronymic qualities, letting his inner Charles Dickens loose ... Taranto sometimes teeters on a polemic tightrope, but he avoids losing his balance as he keeps his eye on the prize.
It’s Taranto’s humor, especially his sentence-level wordplay, that keeps this book from collapsing under the weight of its high-concept, highstakes premise. And if absurdist flourishes, centrist moral sensibilities, and superconductor tech-jargon anchor the book’s aesthetics in the late 1990s, the love story at its core feels raw and tech-laden in a uniquely contemporary way.
Smart and funny ... Taranto’s climax is over-the-top. But it’s a fine study of the idea that, for all the complaints about the culture wars, nobody can pretend they’re not implicated in them. A bright, well-turned satirical debut.