What would life be like if rent was cheap and homelessness was eradicated? Sara Schulman’s The Mere Future takes a dystopian look at what New York might be like if everyone’s housing needs were met.
Title: The Mere Future
By Author: Sara Schulman
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Available on Amazon in paperback, hardcover, Kindle and audiobook editions. You can find it at other online and offline booksellers, as well.
Summary of The Mere Future
Set in the near future, The Mere Future takes us through the first few months after New York elects a new Mayor with some radical promises to make life better for everyone. And, on the surface, all is indeed rosy. But what are the costs of ending homelessness? And do we really want to pay them?
What Worked for Me
The Mere Future reads like a modernized Candide by Voltaire crossed with Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It slyly pokes fun at urban mores and the human capacity to let things slide when comfortable. In the end, it makes you think, and I really like that in a story.
What Didn’t Work for Me
The Mere Future at first reads like a string of random events, but as the novel progresses, you start to see how each event and character ties together. However, although the book jacket mentions that a high-profile murder is key to the story … that murder doesn’t happen until Chapter 31 of the total 41. In many ways, the murder is just another anecdote that shines a final light on how flawed the new system is.
Also, this book is marketed as humor. But it never made me laugh, let alone smirk. This is satire, which although related to humor is not necessarily humorous.
Another thing the promotional material hyped was the fact that the lead characters are lesbians. Frankly, their sexuality doesn’t affect the story all that much. You could change the story-teller to a guy and pretty much have the same story. It’s no big deal … so why bring it up?
The trade paperback is thin and lightweight, so it should easily fit in a medium or larger purse, a carry-on bag or suitcase.
The Mere Future is an intelligently written satire that doesn’t give you its full effect until the end. So it is easy to wonder why you’re reading it … other than for the excellently crafted Oscar-Wilde-esque prose. It is subtle and grows on you over time. And finally, it has something important to say, something we should all be thinking about: When does marketing cross the line and become an invasion of our human rights?
Score for TITLE: 3 Palm Trees out of 5 Possible
NOTE: Although I received this book free to review, that did not affect my opinion of the book. Read past reviews of books I’ve received for free and you’ll know I don’t hold my punches.