Haydn Wilks has tapped into a breathless, coruscating stream of creative energy with Americosis. In Volume 1, we see an America that is heightened and elevated to a carnival glass temple to narcissism, ambition and seen with a gentility and a knowing sense of humour in addition to a sense of scale and an inventiveness that tends to have more of a home in comic books.
The book has a satirical heart but there is a sweetness to the portrayal of a country on the edge of a nervous breakdown even as extraterrestrial forces gather and time itself is beginning to fracture. That he captures the tinfoil fragility of ambition, the damage that a single email can do when it goes viral and camps that teach the young attendees a corrosive theology that manages to incorporate climate change and dinosaurs on the ark.
It had a slightly impenetrable start, but once you adjust to the rapid pace and scale, you’re soon appreciating and enjoying the work that’s being done here. There are elements of Pynchon, Vonnegut and even Tom Robbins all blended into a glib, sophisticated voice that allows for insane presidential candidates, shapeshifters hanging out in fast food restaurant bathrooms and primitive time travellers hung beyond the limits of priapism.
I enjoy being surprised and challenged by the new voices that are out there. Wilks is one to watch, and Americosis is shaping up into something quite spectacular.
(This review was based on my receipt of a review copy from the author and offered without obligation or expectation beyond said review)