THE PICKUP ARTIST by Terry Bisson

THE PICKUP ARTIST

KIRKUS REVIEW

Another of Bisson's trademark tall tales (Pirates of the Universe, 1996, etc.). In this near-future, following an angry rebellion, artworks—books, music, movies, paintings, sculpture—created after 1900 are being progressively deleted in order to make room for new creations. "Pickup artist" Hank Shapiro's job is to go around picking up books, records, etc., by artists who've been deleted, for destruction by the Bureau of Arts and Entertainment. Hank's dog, Homer, is sick, however; after great travail he gets her admitted to a veterinary clinic atop a garbage mountain on Staten Island. At work, meanwhile, he picks up a Hank Williams album that fascinates him because the cover reminds him of his father. He takes the album out of his collection bag and, during another pickup, inquires of librarian "Henry" (Henrietta) where he might find a record player—and thereby seals his doom. He stumbles into a shady world of bootleggers and destructive Alexandrians (named "after the fire, not the library") and, after rescuing Homer, ends up journeying toward Las Vegas with Henry and her dead lover Indian Bob (he's addicted to LastRitesTM and is horrified to learn he's dead). Homer starts to talk.

Amusing adventures, though the author has a serious point to make. Bisson's true forte, however, is short stories, and this yarn, despite the droll, deadpan delivery, never gets up a full head of steam.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-87403-0
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2001




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