At its core, Lost in Arcadia tells the story of a broken family, but it’s how it tells that story that makes it the most remarkable novel I’ve had the privilege to edit. First, it sets the drama of a mother and her three children in search of their vanished husband and father in an imagined near-future United States, circa 2037, when certain contemporary trends have matured along their logical paths. Video gaming and social media have merged and evolved. Corporations enjoy better-than-full citizenship. A border wall bristles along the entire length of the southern United States. If this world is not our own, it may only differ in that it’s not our own just yet.
But what elevates this novel to one of those handful-in-a-lifetime kind of reading experiences is the symphony of voices through which it portrays nine months of the Reyes family’s wrenching search for human connection in a world where everything is cheapened and mediated. Mirroring this world, the book intersperses news stories, chat-room banter, stream of consciousness, email messages, and chapters told only in dialogue.
Granted, Lost in Arcadia is decidedly not for the faint of art. It will confound some readers, get under the skin of others, and cause still others to fall deeply in love. And for some, like me, it will elicit all these reactions and more. I’ll be talking about this astounding novel for years.
- Jason Kirk, Editor