Topiary--A Novel (PB) (2009)

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This -futuristic- and highly satiric novel is actually set, just like George Orwell's -1984,- not in the future at all but in the present itself, a present that the author (again like Orwell) sets out to portray as it actually is rather than as people have grown accustomed to it in an unthinking acceptance. In -Topiary,- the central character goes by the name of -Plantman.- He earlier worked as writer for an enormous ad agency, but now, having switched careers from -death- to -life- and from -falsehood- to -growth,- he is hired by a company called -Topiary Techniques- to water and otherwise nurture and care for the only green and living things in the great business towers of -The City,- namely, the green plants that have been supplied to corporate directors by Topiary Techniques in order to bring some bit of life into the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dead cubicles and -offices- throughout The City. Partly Candide, partly the Thoreau of -Walden,- partly Johnny Appleseed, and partly the free-associating mind of the highly literary novelist himself, Plantman -travels- both inwardly and outwardly, meeting all the city's most influential (and just as often, cruelly or blindly destructive) denizens. In the end, Plantman very nearly dies from a hideous disease symbolizing the power of The City's toxicity (both literal and moral) over the powers of the green, organic, and natural: That is, over the powers of -life.- Still, a touch of hope does bless novel's end as Plantman sets forth on one last quest that may--if we're very, very lucky--save us all.


A. Stephen Engel
ISBN 10:
Oliver Arts and Open Press
Publication Date:
October 10, 2009

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