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The Heap

A Novel
Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“As intellectually playful as the best of Thomas Pynchon and as sardonically warm as the best of Kurt Vonnegut, The Heap is both a hilarious send-up of life under late capitalism and a moving exploration of the peculiar loneliness of the early 21st century. A masterful and humane gem of a novel.” (Shaun Hamill, author of A Cosmology of Monsters

Blending the piercing humor of Alexandra Kleeman and the jagged satire of Black Mirror, an audacious, eerily prescient debut novel that chronicles the rise and fall of a massive high-rise housing complex, and the lives it affected before - and after - its demise.

Standing nearly 500 stories tall, Los Verticalés once bustled with life and excitement. Now this marvel of modern architecture and nontraditional urban planning has collapsed into a pile of rubble known as the Heap.

In exchange for digging gear, a rehabilitated bicycle, and a small living stipend, a vast community of Dig Hands removes debris, trash, and bodies from the building’s mountainous remains, which span 20 acres of unincorporated desert land.

Orville Anders burrows into the bowels of the Heap to find his brother Bernard, the beloved radio DJ of Los Verticalés, who is alive and miraculously broadcasting somewhere under the massive rubble.

For months, Orville has lived in a sea of campers that surrounds the Heap, working tirelessly to free Bernard - the only known survivor of the imploded city - whom he speaks to every evening, calling into his radio show.

The brothers’ conversations are a ratings bonanza, and the station’s parent company, Sundial Media, wants to boost its profits by having Orville slyly drop brand names into his nightly talks with Bernard. When Orville refuses, his access to Bernard is suddenly cut off, but strangely, he continues to hear his own voice over the airwaves, casually shilling products as “he” converses with Bernard.

What follows is an imaginative and darkly hilarious story of conspiracy, revenge, and the strange life and death of Los Verticalés that both captures the wonderful weirdness of community and the bonds that tie us together. 

©2019 Sean Adams (P)2019 HarperAudio

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  • Dave
  • St. Louis, MO United States
  • 01-18-20

A cinematic story, expertly narrated

As the narrator (and timelines) shift, different voice actors take on the roles and tell the story with emotions ranging from documentarian to enraged. I switched between audio and the ebook and this recording enriched my reading as well.

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    5 out of 5 stars

A great debut!

A wonderful first novel that is biting in it's satire and humanity. I read a blurb that compared Adam's writing to Pynchon's, which I initially scoffed at, but this novel is reminiscent of The Crying of Lot 49 in a way. Highly recommend.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Worth reading if you like dystopia (I do)

Confusing at first, and then fascinating. When the action really starts, it keeps its energy to the very end. Denizens of the tower learn that if they report a problem, the solution is not what they expect, and their lives get worse. But they adjust to it, and isn't that just the way?

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  • Marie
  • brooklyn, NY, United States
  • 01-08-20

The best book of 2020

I purchased multiple copies so that my whole family can read this book at the same time. I bought the audiobook so that my dog can listen to it too (she can’t read yet).