“They left that basement and walked uptown in the dimness of daybreak. The streets were a deserted mess. Cars stopped in traffic with no one in them. Newspapers and trash flying around. Smashed windows on the storefronts. And silence. Their footfalls echoed off of the tall buildings. Behind the gray clouds it was speckly, like a monitor screen gone wrong. A small green dot hovered up there. Adrian watched it for a while as they walked until it blipped out of existence.”
Jennifer Marie Brissett’s 2014 book Elysium came onto my radar when it was nominated for the P.K. Dick award. Published by my favorite indie publisher (Aqueduct Press; they specialize in feminist science fiction), I kicked myself for not noticing it sooner. I signed up for the post-apocalyptic elements, and what I got was a delightfully experimental novel about what it feels like to lose the one you love. Sure, there is apocalypse in it, but this book is a hell of a lot more, and next Thursday you’ll find my review and an interview with Jennifer on 1000 Ways to End the World.
The first sentence, hell the entire first section, doesn’t begin to hint at what this novel is going to be and do. That Elysium blends story into story into story in a way both jarring and completely easy to accept and adapt to as a reader, that we would experience many apocalypses and loses through many sets of eyes—that are somehow also the same set—that certain things would still remain a mystery until the end: none of it is evident in that first paragraph. This is a multi-dimensional spin selling itself as a ho-hum apocalypse. Don’t be fooled! If you decide to pick this up, prepare for your mind to go all bendy. Like my favorite P.K. Dick books, Elysium makes me feel like I am on drugs. I like that in a book. A lot.
“She believed they had a connection that spread over space and time. No matter the distance, she thought that somehow, they would always find each other. Then, just like that, the dream was over. There was a barrier they could not cross, a place he could go where she could not follow. He was gone.”
Where you can get Elysium: Book Depository