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Loved it! 😍

Dive into this spy-fy family drama for a poetic romp through time and space that will keep you guessing.

I’m a reader who seeks out fiction that defies categorization. I want novels that keep me guessing, deftly combining and refashioning the conventions of multiple genres, luring me towards comfortable predictability only to turn my world upside down. Irene Copper’s new novel Committal delivers on all fronts. This work is part science fiction, part spy novel, and part family drama with a sprinkling of gothic horror. 

The story follows the rotating cast of characters who orbit around the lives of the beautifully enigmatic Luci Sykes and her twin brother, Tokker. The twins have been separated at birth and Tokker is brought up on a substance farm in the Midwest while Luci, deliberately deprived of oxygen at birth, is subjected to a lobotomy by her powerful father. We get to know Luci most during her adult years after she has become the troubled genius behind Olympia Navigation—the producer of the world’s most intuitive GPS systems. In a nod to gothic horror, Luci imagines herself as something akin to the misunderstood creature in one of my favorite novels—Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. The death of Luci’s mother, Maggie, catalyzes the events in the novel and Tokker gets pulled into the fray alongside BEACON, Olympia’s final GPS system, in a quest to undermine Luci’s plans to destroy the human race.  

The novel switches point of view quite frequently and its fragmented narrative structure demands the reader’s attention. This is not a book to pick up if you are looking for beach read. I confess that I found myself frequently disoriented, but I suspect that this is exactly what the author intended. In spite of my disorientation, however, the novel won me over with its quirky cast of characters and poetic use of language. 

Cooper makes it clear from the first page that she is a writer committed to clarity and precision. Her writing transported me through time and space and I frequently found myself underlining passages to return to later. That aspect of the work, more than any other drew me in and kept me reading. If you are seeking a poetic ecological novel filled with unexpected twists and turns, look no further than Committal

Reviewed by

Writer, researcher, and professional book reviewer, passionate about connecting readers with inspiring, thought-provoking content. English Ph.D., specializing in 19th-century American literature and Food Studies.

Westhaven & Luci

About the author

Irene Cooper’s words surface online and in print. She facilitates creative writing workshops in community and co-edits The Stay Project. Committal, a speculative spyfy novel about family, is out now. spare change: poems is forthcoming in 2021. Irene lives with her people and a corgi in Oregon. view profile

Published on September 15, 2020

Published by Vegetarian Alcoholic Press

60000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Reviewed by