June 20, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Victims

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Travis Jeppesen
publisher
Akashic
genre
Fiction
We gave it a B-

Published under the aegis of acclaimed author Dennis Cooper (Try), Victims is an infuriating exercise in plot-light avant-garde lit that somehow manages to occasionally move you with its broken, tragicomic characters. Tanya is a suburban teen wastrel who gets pregnant and then sucked into a demented doomsday cult, seeding a lost, sordid future for her son, Herbert. Jeppesen structures his slender narrative as a bold mosaic of POV-switching fragments, told in language either raw or florid. But just when his tale gains emotional traction, the rookie novelist grinds the gears recklessly with po-mo cliches and loony secondary characters — like an uncompromising would-be author writing a book about ”victimology.” (Hmmm.) There’s a chilling denouement, but Victims is so mistreated by its own risk taking, you might not feel it.

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