334 by Thomas M. Disch

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334 by Thomas M. Disch
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334 by Thomas M. Disch

If Charles Dickens has written speculative fiction, he might have created a novel as intricate, passionate, and lacerating as Thomas M. Disch’s visionary portrait of the underbelly of 21st-century New York City. The residents of the public housing project at 334 East 11th Street live in a world of rationed babies and sanctioned drug addiction. Real food is displayed in museums and hospital attendants moonlight as body-snatchers.

Nimbly hopscotching backward and forward in time, Disch charts the shifting relationships between this world’s inheritors: an aging matriarch who falls in love with her young social worker; a widow seeking comfort from the spirit of her dead husband; a privileged preteen choreographing the perfectly gratuitous murder. Poisonously funny, piercingly authentic, 334 is a masterpiece of social realism disguised as science fiction.

334 by Thomas M. Disch is one of William Gibson’s favorite books