by Julia Holmes
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No woman will have Ben without a proper bachelor’s suit . . . and the tailor refuses to make him one. Back from war with a nameless enemy, Ben finds that his mother is dead and his family home has been reassigned by the state. As if that isn’t enough, he must now find a wife, or he’ll be made a civil servant and given a permanent spot in one of the city’s oppressive factories.
Meanwhile, Meeks, a foreigner who lives in the park and imagines he’s a member of the police, is hunted by the overzealous Brothers of Mercy. Meeks’ survival depends on his peculiar friendship with a police captain—but will that be enough to prevent his execution at the annual Independence Day celebration?
A dark satire rendered with the slapstick humor of a Buster Keaton film, Julia Holmes’ debut marries the existentialism of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground to the strange charm of a Haruki Murakami novel. Meeks portrays a world at once hilarious and disquieting, in which frustrated revolutionaries and hopeful youths suffer alongside the lost and the condemned, just for a chance at the permanent bliss of marriage and a slice of sugar-frosted Independence Day cake.
Julia Holmes was born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and grew up in the Middle East, Texas, and New York, where she is currently an assistant editor at Rolling Stone. She is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program in fiction.
- Small Beer Press, August 2010
Small Beer Press
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