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Keyhole Factoryby William Gillespie
Synopses & Reviews
"To repurpose T.S. Eliot, this is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but with an experimental novel about our dÃ©nouement. In Gillespie's imaginative scenario, a manmade plague called Pandora is deliberately unleashed upon an unsuspecting populace. Through the clever use of ever-changing typographical layouts, we live through the spread of the epidemic and are horrified as it quickly devastates mankind, causing a breakdown in law and order and communications. Playing like a biowarfare version of Arthur Schnitzler's La Ronde, with death substituting for sex, we meet an interconnected cross-section of humanity, including a poet astronaut on his way back to a changed Earth after testing a planet-killing weapon in deep space; a female virologist who works at the secret underground lab where the weaponized virus was created; Seattle newlyweds, possibly 'the last couple to get married,' fleeing the clogged city in search of sanctuary; a serial killer who preys upon the various colonies of survivors; and a pirate radio disk jockey who broadcasts her harrowing experiences even though there may no longer be anyone alive to hear them. Gillespie (The Story That Teaches You How to Write It) has a keen satiric mind: the virus is released at an Arms Contractors Ball where men wear missile codpieces and women bullet bras. And although it has become fashionable in recent years for literary authors to take on the apocalypse, you would have to go back to Denis Johnson's Fiskadoro to find such a purely poetic take on the unthinkable. Agent: Gary Heidt, Signature Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Set in an alternate present that is a slightly, if dangerously, skewed version of our own, Keyhole Factory tracks the interwoven destinies of disparate characters up to and beyond the end of the world-as-we-know-it, brought on by a global super-virus. Beginning with a biting satire of an academic poetry conference, the novel moves on to encompass the stories of a poet-astronaut, a microbiologist contemplating an exit strategy from her high-level job designing biological weapons, a sports-car-driving killer who stages the aesthetic murders of utopian commune-dwellers, and a lone pirate radio disc jockey who may be the last person left alive broadcasting her story to nobody. Allowing form and content to shape each other, William Gillespie pries open the confusion in a moment of total crisis through a narrative web-work technique derived from deranged fiction pioneer Harry Stephen Keeler.
Part imaginative free-for-all and part deeply felt examination of isolation and survival, the individual lives in Keyhole Factory shine through the chaos in all their beauty and tragedy. With his signature wit and originality, Gillespie spins a glittering fever-dream that questions our assumptions about the way we interpret events and our relation to the planet, without ever losing sight of the underlying experience of what it feels like to be a human being in the world we live in today.
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