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Landscape With Invisible Hand
Contributor(s): Anderson, M. T.
ISBN: 0763687898     ISBN-13: 9780763687892
Publisher: Candlewick Pr
    OUR PRICE: $15.29  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: September 2017
Qty:
Annotation: An artistic youth stages creative romantic scenes as entertainment for the Earth's alien overlords to support his unemployed family, a situation that is compromised by an estrangement from his girlfriend. By the National Book Award-winning author of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Extraterrestrial beings; Fiction.
Survival; Fiction.
Science fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2017034894
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.50" H x 5.75" W x 0.50" (0.75 lbs) 149 pages
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2017 #5)
Parable, satire, dystopic sci-fi--Anderson's take on a near future in which alien "vuvv" have colonized America's economy, land, and airspace has so many shiveringly close resemblances to the contemporary world that it might also be called realism. The vuvv invasion started with a corporate trade agreement, and it's the vuvv and Earth's wealthy elite who have benefitted from it. For Adam's family, as for most people, vuvv tech has meant loss of work, soot-filled air, filthy water, poverty, and illness. The best Adam and his girlfriend Chloe can do is monetize their affection: the vuvv pay to view 1950s-style romance. But what happens when Adam and Chloe can't stand each other anymore? Adam hopes he'll win the vuvv art competition, but he knows they prefer bland still lifes of fruit, and he can't prevent himself from painting honestly, with a dark, desperate realism. Anderson's prose is almost hyper-lucid here--appropriately so, as the story is structured around Adam's descriptions of his paintings. Practically every word reflects a prescient, bitingly precise critique of contemporary human folly, of economic and environmental inequities and absurdities. "We keep trying to win...we're American," says Adam as his family struggles to resolve its calamities. "The secret to moving forward right now is losing." deirdre f. baker Copyright 2017 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 June #3)

Anderson (Symphony for the City of the Dead) sets this biting and brilliant satire on a near-future Earth where an alien race called the vuvv has brought advanced technology and cures for disease—and ushered in the collapse of Earth's economy. Adam Costello, a 15-year-old artist beset by gastrointestinal illness, and his family are among the many desperate for money and work. Reluctantly, Adam and his girlfriend, Chloe, broadcast an exaggerated 1950s-quaint, pay-per-view version of their romance to the vuvv, who are entranced by "classic" Earth culture—doo-wop music, still-life paintings, and the notion of true, everlasting love. With Adam's relationship with Chloe imploding, his illness worsening, and his art gaining vuvv attention, he must decide whether to bend to the whims of the vuvv or stay true to his humanity. Adam narrates in gloomy, vignettelike chapters whose titles ("Autumn in a Field Near a Discharge Facility") give the sense of each scene existing as a painting in itself. The vuvv, described as resembling "granite coffee tables: squat, wide, and rocky," are only interested in the parts of Earth culture they choose to acknowledge, and ignore the sweeping damage they've inflicted. "I just love the human race," one of the vuvv tells Adam, patronizingly. "You people are so much more spiritual than we are." Anderson takes issues of colonialism, ethnocentrism, inequality, and poverty and explodes them on a global, even galactic, scale. A remarkable exploration of economic and power structures in which virtually all of humanity winds up the losers. Ages 14–up. Agent: David McCormick, McCormick Literary. (Sept.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 June)

Gr 9 Up—The vuvv came in peace, offering new technology and life-changing medical breakthroughs. Yet their presence on Earth has slowly eroded Adam Costello's small town. Joblessness, illness, and food scarcity are the realities of his shaky existence, and his only solace is in his painting. When Adam begins to date Chloe, they realize that there's a moneymaking opportunity in their relationship. Taking advantage of the vuvv's fascination with 1950s-era American life, Adam and Chloe plan to film themselves going on old-fashioned dates. The aliens are willing to pay top dollar to watch these episodes. But the teens' love soon turns to animosity, and their grand plan holds dire implications for their families. This sharp, compelling, slim volume packs a punch. Anderson's vivid world could be a mirror for many American communities today. Poverty and its impact on food, health, and daily life are rendered in stark detail. Adam's passion for painting and his idealism in the face of the commercialistic vuvv are a moving nod to the power of art to transform lives. Despite the heavy subject material and pervading sense of doom, the book ends on a hopeful note, making this a solid choice for a variety of readers. VERDICT An engrossing, speculative look at life in the margins, this is a first purchase for libraries serving teens.—Erinn Black Salge, Morristown-Beard School, NJ

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.