Book Review: Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown

Cover of the book Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown
Tropic of Kansas
by Christopher Brown
Harper/Voyager, 2017

This review was first published by Booklist on September 27, 2017.

In the near future, the U.S. is broken apart into warring territories, the president is a tyrant, and rebellion rends the land. Immigration across all borders is restricted. Sig, a feral and fugitive young man, and Tania, a lawyer working for the government and daughter of a revolutionary, are connected by their past, and both get caught up in the burgeoning rebellion. They journey into the Tropic of Kansas, through the broken heartland of America to a flooded New Orleans, a world populated by smugglers, militia bands, monolithic corporations, and revolutionaries. Confronted by unreliable alliances and uncertain trust, they both must decide where their loyalties lie. This vision of the future is violent, unforgiving, and bleak: Cormac McCarthy meets Philip K. Dick. It’s disturbing because of how believable it is. The novel’s structure is fractured: chapters are short, with frequent jumps between characters. This gives the work an uncertain and unsettled feel and captures the fractured nature of the world these people inhabit. It’s remarkably effective. Recommended for fans of Paolo Bacigalupi and China Miéville.

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