Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson
Published by Candlewick Press on September 12th 2017
Genres: Dystopia, Fiction, Humor, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 160 pages Source: NetGalley
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National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson returns to future Earth in a sharply wrought satire of art and truth in the midst of colonization.
When the vuvv first landed, it came as a surprise to aspiring artist Adam and the rest of planet Earth - but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Can it really be called an invasion when the vuvv generously offered free advanced technology and cures for every illness imaginable? As it turns out, yes. With his parents' jobs replaced by alien tech and no money for food, clean water, or the vuvv's miraculous medicine, Adam and his girlfriend, Chloe, have to get creative to survive. And since the vuvv crave anything they deem "classic" Earth culture (doo-wop music, still-life paintings of fruit, true love), recording 1950s-style dates for the vuvv to watch in a pay-per-minute format seems like a brilliant idea. But it's hard for Adam and Chloe to sell true love when they hate each other more with every passing episode. Soon enough, Adam must decide how far he's willing to go - and what he's willing to sacrifice - to give the vuvv what they want.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Adam’s life is pretty terrible.
His mom is out of work. His father’s left. Their house is underwater (figuratively, not literally). He has a terrible gastrointestinal disease. Life since the vuuv invasion has been terrible.
Then Adam falls in love, and Chloe comes up with an idea. They’ll broadcast their love story 1950s style to the vuuv. The vuuv are obsessed with the 50s and it’ll bring some money in. It’s an amazing idea! Until it’s not. When one thing starts to spiral, everything starts to go out of control and it’s up to Adam to figure out a way to save his family and himself.
Well, it’s not Feed.
When I love a book, really love a book, I get really high expectations for the author. I want that again! I want to be as in love and enraged as I was over Violet! I just don’t feel that for Adam, and I want to get that out of the way. Landscape With Invisible Hand is not Feed. But that’s okay – because it’s still pretty good. It’s great to read some science-fiction by M.T. Anderson again. He still manages to lace it with that dystopian cynicism that made Feed amazing, but it’s really difficult not to compare the books. It’s the future. Technology has changed. As a result, human life is actually pretty terrible. But in Landscape, the MC is all too aware of exactly how terrible it is.
And you keep waiting for things to get better! …
You can’t help but to feel bad for Adam.
He’s not quite likable enough that you want to root for him, but you don’t hate him enough to feel like he deserves this lot in life. It’s an interesting balance, and I don’t think I’ve run into a character that I’ve felt like this about before. Anderson is great at building worlds that make you cringe in their relatability and bleakness. He’s great at annoying characters that are really interesting. This book was just so depressing though. In a necessary, “let’s talk about how our social classes are a facade” sort of way.
This was a really easy read, but it was anything but light. I’ve already recommended it to a few friends because of the way it sucks you in. It’s like a car crash, where something terrible has happened and you know you don’t want to see it, but you have to see it because it reminds you that you are mortal and to be wary. It makes you see the truth in things you want to ignore.
I didn’t like it, but it is a needed book.
It’s difficult to say I liked a book that was so gosh darn grim. I liked the ending though. I’m on the fence as to whether or not I will purchase a hard copy of this book for my personal library. But I will keep recommending it to people, because it was so interesting. And I will definitely keep reading any science fiction M.T. Anderson puts out.