Mary and Eddie are meant for each other—but love is no guarantee, not in these suburbs. Like all children, they exist in an eternal present; time is imminent, and the adults of the street live in their assorted houses like numbers on a clock. Soon a sorcerer's car will speed down Mary's street, and as past and future fold into each other, the resonant parenthesis of her girlhood will close forever. Once you enter the duplex—that magical hinge between past and future, human and robot, space and time—there's no telling where you might come out.
The real and the unreal are laminated so tightly in Duplex you find yourself suddenly lost; you don’t know where or when this book takes place, you don’t know what this book is about at all. And that is how it takes you in ... When I finished Duplex I had the unshakable feeling that I’d only read half of the book, and the other half was still in there and if I wanted to finish it, I’d need to read it again. I wasn’t wrong. By then I’d fallen in love with Davis’s writing, what it did to me, that combination of horror and excitement that spilled out of the book, into my past, into the now, into everything around me ... Davis is more subtle in her understanding of the kind of horror girls really need. It’s extremely rare, but there is plenty of it in Duplex and I’m grateful for every word ... strange things keep happening and do not stop ... So, when you are lost in the uncanny woods of this astonishing, double-hinged book, just keep reading, and remember to look up. Kathryn Davis knows right where you are.
...a fluid tapestry of memories and bizarre mythologies interwoven with threads that fray and tear at the slightest touch ... Essentially plotless, the defining arc of Duplex is time. But in Davis’s deft hands, the fabric of time is torn and twisted, gnarled and knotted, not just for the readers of this plunge into surrealistic fantasy, but for the characters themselves ... All the characters seem to take these mind-boggling slingshots into another dimension matter-of-factly, with little displays of emotion or confusion. It’s not so easy for the reader — just as a moment draws us in, it abruptly cracks apart, leaving us breathless and disoriented. Yet Duplex is utterly compelling and hard to put down ... Duplex seems seeded with symbolism, yet it feels deliberately elliptical, just beyond comprehension. Diving into Davis’s universe is a bit like wading into deep, dark water in which you sense but can’t quite see what’s teeming in the currents below ... as confounding as it is provocative.
Duplex resonates on a unique frequency and forces readers to adjust to its wavelength. It’s a book to tune into rather than break down ... A traditional plot or character sketch won’t do this topsy-turvy story justice, and Duplex will be frustrating to readers who demand clarity and continuity. But taken on its own terms—as a book that defies genre and storytelling expectations—this off-kilter world in which humans, robots, and Bodies-without-Souls all co-exist hums beautifully to its own rhythm. It’s a series of dreamlike, often erotic, images and interconnected plot lines that don’t so much build to climax as swell to create an intoxicating atmosphere ... As these references to time build throughout the novel, it’s clear the mystical duplex isn’t as fantastical as it first seemed ... Davis cares most of all not about what those alternate paths might have been, but with how it feels to encounter them. This cosmic novel may give readers the dizzying sense of coming unhinged, but it’s also a reminder that the momentum gained from shifting back and forth between possibilities—not the actual going through the door—is the movement that propels us forward.