This is the story of Corey Fah, a writer who has hit the literary jackpot: their novel has just won the prize for the Fictionalization of Social Evils. But the actual trophy, and with it the funds, hovers peskily out of reach. Neon-beige, with UFO-like qualities, the elusive trophy leads Corey, with their partner Drew and eight-legged companion Bambi Pavok, on a spectacular quest through their childhood in the Forest and an unlikely stint on reality TV. Navigating those twin horrors, along with wormholes and time loops, Corey learns, the hard way, the difference between a prize and a gift. Following the Goldsmiths Prize-winning Sterling Karat Gold, Isabel Waidner's bold and buoyant new novel is about coming into one's own, the labor of love, the tendency of history to repeat itself, and what ensues when a large amount of cultural capital is suddenly deposited in a place it has never been before.
Sometimes surreal satires can be inaccessible, too clinically strange to connect with, but Waidner anchors the reader with familiar emotion ... Waidner’s humor is similarly accessible — playful and unpretentious; and their prose, despite being peppered with foreign phrases and grammatical oddities, is disarmingly smooth ... The novel is an allegory that argues, effectively, that admission is not the same thing as access ... Poignant.
Surreal and splendid ... The story’s upbeat ending⎯heartening in ways you’d never expect, just right for a pair of novels disruptive in the best sense, a one-two punch like nothing in recent memory⎯allows our hero to multiply their good luck.