Walter Tevis – Mockingbird

Poetic Dystopia

The novel is set in a discouraging and profetic scenario – a run-down New York City, where people are uncultured and living in a constant stupor caused by drugs; where everyone’s motto is “Don’t ask, just relax”.
In this world – where everyone is focused on their own primary needs, in order to obtain the greatest pleasure in the shortest time – we meet the three main characters:
Spofforth, an immortal robot, more human than humans themselves; Mary Lou, a rebellious girl; and the really shy Professor Bentley.

There are no heroes or villains in this novel, just three lonely people whose paths cross after an unexpected twist of fate.
Bentley finds a book – something so obsolete it’s almost one of a kind in this apocalyptic future – and he learns how to read.

In this post-modern fairy tale that book is the magical item that will make the humans human again, a glorification of reading – the only thing that may save us all from ignorance and debauchery.
An evocative novel that makes readers keep up his hopes and wishes.
Absolutely poetic.

Translation by Francesca Febbrari (edited by Davide Spagnoli)