Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review of Holly Childs' No Limit.

No Limit is a book about hip young things doing hip things and wanting the world to know about their hipness via social media.

The novella is set in Auckland, New Zealand, in December 2012, which is important because the world was supposed to end then due to the Mayan calendar running out. To add to the apocalyptic feel of the novella, a volcano is erupting. Its ash causes the cancellation of Ash’s plane to Australia. With no idea how long she will have to wait, Ash decides to look up a cousin in Auckland. She spends much of the novella searching for him, meeting a few strange people along the way.

The novel is full of references to pop culture. For example, Tom, everyone’s first Myspace friend, makes an appearance. And many words are spent describing the clothes the characters wear. Labels, labels everywhere.

The characters all seem to suffer from attention deficit disorder as their thoughts flick from observations of the world around them to desires, to how they are going to get to where they want to be, and then to wanting to be somewhere else immediately after they get there. Their lives seem jaded by too many unlived and unanalysed experiences.

All along the way, they want to record everything they do and say, but the internet keeps on dropping out, perhaps the end of the world is really happening. The novella emphasises a youth culture that can’t see the point in doing anything if they can’t take pictures of it and then share it on social media.

This is Holly Childs' first published longer work of fiction. She is a writer and artist, who, according to her bio, creates work around digital semiotics, transformations of language, obscurities, fashion, aberration and corruption. 

She uses a lot of short sentences in No Limit, as if to emphasis the quickly passing thoughts of the characters. The novella is written with a lot of humour.

This is a novella for those who enjoy watching the slightly deluded lurch from one unfulfilled fantasy to another.



graywave said...

Maybe it's just the way you describe it, but you make it sound awful - a lot of jittering activity and no depth. Did you actually enjoy the book? Is there anything good you can say about it?

Graham Clements said...

I did enjoy the book, I think its style said a lot about the themes it was pushing - consumerism, narcissism, hedonism, the need to be acknowledged. If it was longer than its eighty pages, say a full length novel, then I don't think the author would have gotten away with the it. She would have had to give them more depth. The novella takes place over one hedonistic night. Like a group going to a party and getting drunk.

Anthony J. Langford said...

Interesting that its a novella - where did you find it Graham?
Sounds like a good idea for a novella.. keeping it short.

Graham Clements said...

I saw Holly Childs at last year's Melbourne Writers Festival. Even though she was very nervous, I thought the idea of the novella sounded interesting and I was also interested in reading something written by an author who was living youth culture. So I bought it at the festival bookshop, run by Dymocks.