Soft Skull Press, 9781593764050, 352pp.
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
"J. G. Ballard meets William Gibson meets Jeff VanderMeer. Oval is an up-to-the-minute story about the twilight zones of corporate design, aesthetics, pharmacy, and bioengineering, where there's nothing consultants won't break in the quest for 'innovation.' What could possibly go wrong? Find out in Elvia Wilk's crisp and stylish debut book." --McKenzie Wark, author of Gamer Theory and A Hacker Manifesto
In the near future, Berlin's real estate has become more unaffordable than ever; artists are employed by corporations as consultants; and the weather is acting strange. In search of housing, Anja and Louis move into a community on an artificial mountain, where they're offered a home rent free in exchange for keeping quiet about the eco-settlement's seriously malfunctioning infrastructure.
When Louis returns from his mother's funeral, Anja is convinced he has changed. He seems to be in denial of his grief, consumed by a secret project at the NGO where he works. Anja is horrified when she discovers what Louis has invented: a pill called Oval that temporarily rewires the user's brain to be more generous. Louis believes if he can introduce the drug into the Berlin club scene, he can remedy the inequality that has made Berlin so unlivable.
Oval is a fascinating portrait of the unbalanced relationships that shape our world, as well as a prescient warning of what the future may hold.