Square Wave (Paperback)
Two Dollar Radio, 9781937512392, 376pp.
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
"Brilliant." --3: AM Magazine
"Intelligent... thrilling." --Michael Silverblatt, 'Bookworm' on KCRW
Carl Stagg, a writer researching imperial power struggles in 17th century Sri Lanka, ekes out a living as a watchman in a factionalized America where confidence in democracy has eroded. Along his nightly patrol, Stagg finds a beaten prostitute, one in a series of monstrous attacks. Suspicious of his supervisor's intentions, Stagg partners with a fellow part-time watchman, Ravan, to seek the truth. Ravan hails from a family developing storm-dispersal technologies, whose research is jointly funded by the Indian and American governments.
The watchmen's discoveries put a troubling complexion on Stagg's research, giving it new shape and impetus, just as the weather modification project begins to appear less about dispersing storms than weaponizing them.
By gracefully weaving a study of the psychological effects of a militarized state upon its citizenry with topics as diverse as microtonal music and cloud physics, Square Wave signals the triumphant arrival of a young writer certain to be considered one of the most ambitious and intelligent of his generation.
"The novel of ideas is alive and well in de Silva's high-minded debut, in which the pursuit of art, the exercise of power, and climate control are strangely entwined. Set against the backdrop of a crumbling America, this novel functions as a thriller where the confusions and obsessions of students are freighted with the dark reality they begin to uncover. De Silva isn't shy about his intelligence, and he shouldn't be; Square Wave is an intellectual tussle many readers will be happy to grapple with." ―Publishers Weekly