A satirical debut novel in which a young Canadian couple finds their love put to the test when one of them joins a reality show on which the two winners will become the first humans not only to set foot on Mars but to live there.
Sometimes, a girlfriend needs space. Sometimes, she goes to space. That’s the — OK, obvious — premise of Girlfriend on Mars, a novel by the Canadian writer Deborah Willis, who knows what we’ve wished for from books all along, which is that they were TV instead. Just kidding! But Willis does know how to tell a story with the grip of a good drama series ... While the setup could have made for a breezy read, Willis cuts deep with insight that orbits the age-old, just-took-a-bong-hit question: What does it mean to be real? ... it’s our reality that Willis is playing with, and she has fun with it, especially our life on the internet, another unreal place we’ve come to accept as all too real ... Every detail is sharply placed by Willis, who has a scorching sense of humor and a soft spot for humanity down here on Earth.
...veers giddily on the brink between satire and tragedy, transporting us to places we never dreamed we’d go ... However fantastic, nutty and corrupt this all sounds, we are reminded that Musk and his fellow billionaires are already deep into space travel. And that reality, together with Willis’ witty writing, entangles us in the quagmire of comedy, love and fear portrayed in these pages. Sometimes it seems as if this Vancouver couple might represent one whole — albeit flawed — being, with Kevin representing feeling, and Amber, blind ambition, and the universal urge to flee town, or in this case, the planet, while earthly love takes a back seat.