An unnamed woman checks into a guesthouse in a mysterious district known only as the Subdivision. The guesthouse’s owners, Clara and the Judge, are welcoming and helpful, if oddly preoccupied by the perpetually baffling jigsaw puzzle in the living room. With little more than a hand-drawn map and vague memories of her troubled past, the narrator ventures out in search of a job, an apartment, and a fresh start in life.
... a dazzling enigma packed with mysteries in miniature ... Is the Subdivision a place, an emotion or an event lodged in the back of the mind? Is it limbo, or a wall persuaded to shield us from the truth? Lennon is a masterly aggregator of dread. His refusal to neatly answer these questions allows for a bold, unsettling narrative to take shape. The main character’s memories have been fragmented, jumbled and reassembled in a district specifically zoned for her story. Every novel is a subdivision in this way: a plot of land, a land for the plot.
... masterfully told ... what a pleasure it is! Page after page features passages that beg to be read again, with wonderfully inventive visuals along the way ... Indeed, it isn’t long before readers are led to believe the entire world Lennon has built is a before-and-after place, which deepens the story’s nightmarish vibe while propelling the narrative forward ... [Lennon] is one of those rare contemporary writers who’s forged a unique way of storytelling that fuses imagination and reality to create narratives that are presently compelling and resonant long after the last words are read ... While It’s easy to envision his work being analyzed by the MFA crowd, the plots and language are equally appealing to everyday readers who want accessible storytelling that’s intriguing as opposed to confusing (or so obtuse that it takes a room full of those MFAs to figure out what the stories mean) ... Yes, he’s brilliant, but he knows the writer’s most important priority is to entertain. Which is exactly what he does in Subdivision, where cryptic chills and surprises lie around every corner.
... a very good book that serves up what feels like a very bad dream. Imbued with dream-logic, the plot unfolds for the unnamed narrator along a path laden with mercurial transformations, uncertainty, and memories that are always just barely out of reach ... a Kafkaesque tale with attention to minute detail ... This sort of narrative risks going entirely off the rails in a most uninteresting way. Lennon, however, is in control, adept at stringing curious set pieces together to create a dreamlike world that has momentum and logic all its own and that captures the reader in much the same way that a dream ensnares its dreamer. The author is skillful at creating a very willing suspension of disbelief while immersing the reader in a surprisingly coherent experience of the incoherent with a surprisingly satisfying ending.