“The Sky Conducting” by Michael Seidlinger (a review)

24 Feb

I’m a huge fan of dystopian/apocalyptic novels, mainly because–if crafted by good authors–they’ve shown an elegantly-weaved prescience into a gloomy and near future we’ve recklessly created ourselves FOR ourselves.

Michael’s book, The Sky Conducting, presents us with an America not too far destined; a country on the down slope of an empirical, majestic, and dirty decline, where all systems (social, familial, and otherwise) have failed. The America we find in The Sky Conducting has passed judgement on and eviscerated its own organic vital functions. All that remains is a whisper of an arrogant empire, which comforts itself with melancholia and the fossils of domestic symmetry.

The prose is an exercise in brevity, with sentences/phrases/dialogue coming at you like short jabs to the ribs, to the kidneys, to the jaw…advancing the story seamlessly. Michael was kind enough to send me a copy of this novel still in galley proof form, but I don’t imagine very much was excised or any major shifts in plot were introduced.

I read this book concurrently with one of literature’s heavyweight dystopian allegories: Jose Saramago’s “Seeing.” It made a great one-two punch and set me in a beautiful, savage landscape not too far from where we are today.

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