cover image Little Sisters of the Apocalypse

Little Sisters of the Apocalypse

Kit Reed. F2c, $7 (176pp) ISBN 978-0-932511-95-9

In Reed's 14th novel, autobiography shanghais fantasy and scuttles it, in prose that is sometimes energetic, sometimes awkward. ``K.,'' whose mother is dying, makes up a story of the future, in which the men of Schell Isle have gone to war without saying where they went. Five years later, their women are so independent and embittered that half have armed themselves against the men's return. Threatened by internal dissension and external attack, they are aided by an order of motorcycle-riding, computer-hacking nuns, the Little Sisters of the Apocalypse. Meanwhile, in interpolated autobiographical snippets, K.'s mother and two good friends die. The denouement of the fantasy is that there is no convenient apocalypse. In fantasy or the real world, life goes on and so do we. The fantasy and K.'s autobiography complement one another to provide this moral, but the fictional world is incomplete and cartoonish. Her vivid characters, once they have advanced the plot, are dumped like unwanted toys, and K.'s austere authorial voice reels off a list of observations on life and art that are unfortunately shallow. Had Reed not twisted the novel to fit her purpose, it might have been lots of fun, and had a meaning of its own. (Sept.)