DOLLARVILLE by Pete Davies


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A zany comic novel about the end of the world--the latest state-of-the-art version in an increasingly populated genre. The story here follows the adventures of young Charlie Fish, a ""nice guy"" and P.R. rack who has no particular talent except for survival. Since the world of the future is rapidly going down the drain, Charlie's talent is considerably exercised. Like everyone else in Davies' throbbing, exhausted world, he hustles between Dollarville, a parasitical conglomeration of well-heeled western nations lead by the US, and the impoverished Third World, a rapidly eroding feeding-ground for western fortune-hunters. Indeed, all that seems left are the fortune-hunters, who control their operations by TV satellites beaming down constant messages--about religion, sex, and sports--to the drugged populace. On these subjects, the author's satire is directed, and he is usually on-target in his black-humored fashion. A future Africa is seen as almost totally devastated, fit only as a ""spectator sport"" for the jaded traveller who enjoys watching ""exotic pain."" Then there are the numerous ""spontaneous"" street parades, designed to cheer up the weary urbanite, such as the ""Reagan Tomb Tour,"" which honors the great ex-President with costume floats from his movies, including Hellcats of the Navy. As for the weather of the future, there is only acid rain and intense, desert heat: ""They say in Dollarville, it never rains but it sores. . ."" Suddenly one day, an alien, the ""rock beast"" from outer space, attaches itself to a super-space-station antenna, and the broadcasts become stranger and stranger. Naturally, all of this is resolved with great ingenuity and wit. A rambunctious trip down Apocalypse Lane, written with high intensity and humor. Davies understands how ludicrous modern life has become, and his fine second novel (The Last Election, 1986--not reviewed) gleefully highlights its absurdities.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1989
Publisher: Random House