Lipsyte’s lament for our dehumanization is clear: We’re too easily corruptible, too easily manipulated by “the screens, the screens, the screens.” But when it comes to identifying the place where our humanity resides in this techno-sociopolitical mess, he has a harder time finding the target. A life-threatening family crisis late in the novel — of the sort that ought to shift Fraz (and Lipsyte, and the reader) into a higher gear of attentiveness — instead becomes more grist for Hark’s increasingly cultic mill. There’s a notable exception, though, when Tovah tries to will her loved one to survive: “Since she already knows this is magical thinking, she believes she can short-circuit rational critique. Stay alert to the fact that it’s illogical, and magical thinking can become magical reality.” It’s a brilliant pair of lines, witty and alert to the reasons why our chaotic, heartsick brains crave soothing machines. But the moment flickers by much too quickly, and we’re soon back to Hark’s shtick.
Source: latimes.com – Los Angeles Times