In this twisted dystopic first novel, David Grand's hero Herman Q. Louse must navigate the artificial world created by his mad billionaire employer. Ken Kliban's performance brings out the wit and satire that fill every minute of this audiobook. Though Kliban is often funny, beware: Louse should not be dismissed as light humor. The dark world Grand creates is a grave warning about the dangers of corporate power and the negative influence the modern media could have if placed in the wrong hands.
What if Howard Hughes ruled his corporate empire from a chrome-and-glass citadel, served by problem gamblers who've been enslaved so they can pay off their debts? Louse is only partly the answer to that question. It's also a deft piece of corporate satire, an Orwellian fable about absolute power, even a kind of religious allegory.
Author David Grand's remarkable first novel follows Herman Q. Louse, valet to the invalid, germ-phobic billionaire Herbert Horatio Blackwell, as he navigates the conspiracy-ridden world Blackwell has constructed in the middle of the Nevada desert. Louse's story is interspersed with snippets of memos, bulletins, press releases, and public confessions - Grand's modern version of groupthink - all of which provide a darkly comic counterpoint to the novel's growing intrigue.
There are more twists and turns in this book than in your average Hollywood thriller, yet somehow the plot - as well-oiled as it is - becomes hardly the point. Louse is a chilling look at the fate of the individual in a collectivized world, as appropriate to today's corporate drones as to the denizens of Orwell's 1984.
©1998, 2011 David Grand (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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