From Publishers Weekly
Zivkovic surveys the shifting line between paranoid fantasy and legitimate threat in his mystifying novel. When the unnamed narrator, an undertaker, is invited to a private film screening, he's surprised to see that the movie is one sustained shot of himself sitting on a park bench. With this episode, a complicated dance begins between the protagonist and his anonymous puppeteers, who manage to send him careening from one wild incident to the next. Directed to a used-book store, he discovers a novel supposedly written by him years in the future; obeying another mysterious invitation, he ventures to the zoo, where he has a close call in a bear cage, and things get worse from there. "Undertakers primarily favor gentle, sentimental films," he says indignantly, but there's nothing gentle about his adventures. Readers are propelled along as effectively as the narrator is, but they may be just as confused. As the story progresses, the undertaker's increasing paranoia makes it impossible to say how much of the danger is real and how much is imagined. After making a name for himself as a fantasy writer, Zivkovic has stepped intriguingly into experimental prose. (Nov.)
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"This was only a hidden camera episode, after all; everything was under control, nothing bad could happen," Zivkovic's nameless narrator says, trying to soothe himself amid the spiralling surrealities of this mystery novel. After receiving an invitation to a movie screening, he finds himself next to an enigmatic woman, watching a film of the two of them sitting on a park bench. This is the first in an increasingly outlandish chain of events, as the narrator follows a trail of invitations across a darkened cityscape. His growing paranoia leads him to suppose that he is the victim of a hidden-camera prank for television, and he starts to behave as if his every action were being filmed. Zivkovic's unexpected dénouement, however, gestures toward a far stranger, possibly mystical, cause.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker