Book Report Corner

by Rachel R.

Cover of Query

Here is a review of Query by Zilla Novikov. This review, like the book, has words in it. It’s not merely a keyboard smash or ASCII characters in provocative arrangements. It takes substantial effort on my part to put words to my feelings about this weird little book, and I hope you will appreciate that.

Look, Gentle Reader. I am trying here. I really am. I credit myself as a half-decent writer and reviewer. One of the things that I aim to do when I review books is write not just about what the book does for me, a specific being with subjective feelings and tastes and preferences and strongly held opinions about semicolons and found family tropes, but to attempt to identify the kind of reader a book is for, what the book is aiming to do, whether it succeeds in these goals for that reader.

The thing is that this is a book in which I, an aspiring genre fiction writer, a once-baby, now burned-out elder activist, and a lover of strange, sparkling, difficult-to-define stories, am in fact the direct target audience. So of course I love it. It feels written for me. (And given the subplot in which some familiar characters appear, perhaps in part it was.) The question is whether you, Gentle Reader, will also love it.

I think that you very much will.

Query is an epistolary novel that tells the story of a city planner coming to the realization that she can’t solve the climate crisis from inside the system through her increasingly unhinged query letters to various literary agents. If you’ve ever tried to publish anything, the impersonal form rejections and the unending grind of trying to get someone, anyone, to take a chance on you, will be familiar. If you’ve ever tried to make a genuine difference in your job, if you’ve ever felt small and hopeless in the face of late-stage capitalism, that aspect of the novel will feel familiar too. This book is a scathing satire with genuine passion and heart at its core. Come for the wit and the blackout poetry, stay for the actual inspiration to fight the good fight.

All the book-purchasing links are available at the tRaum website. There’s going to be a limited run of special edition palm-sized print books in a swag-filled book box, and then print books and e-books will be available forever.

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