Mortarville

Overview

Mortarville tells the story of a man named "John Smith." ordinary in every way except for one: he was born from a test tube. With this richly imaginative premise, Grant Bailie takes us on an incredible journey through John’s life, from a childhood spent in a secret underground government facility with other test-tube boys, who are prepared for life in the outside world by reading comic books and watching television shows, to his bond with a gorilla named Abigail. After John's fellow artificial inmates riot and ...

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Overview

Mortarville tells the story of a man named "John Smith." ordinary in every way except for one: he was born from a test tube. With this richly imaginative premise, Grant Bailie takes us on an incredible journey through John’s life, from a childhood spent in a secret underground government facility with other test-tube boys, who are prepared for life in the outside world by reading comic books and watching television shows, to his bond with a gorilla named Abigail. After John's fellow artificial inmates riot and destroy their underground home, John, now an adult, takes up residence in Mortarville, a decaying industrial city, where he lives the most mundane of existences, working a job as head of security in a mall. However, no matter how hard he tries to fit in to the real world, John cannot shake his past, and in the end, it is that past which literally carries him away. An amazing and fantastical work that marries the innocence of Pinocchio with the futuristic horror of Brave New World, Mortarville explores the fundamental question of what it means to be human in a world that is losing its humanity.

Grant Baile’s first novel, Cloud 8, was called "mad, fascinating, and really quite moving" by Kirkus Reviews, and "tender and introspective" by Boston’s Weekly Dig. A resident of Cleveland, Grant's short fiction has been published in numerous places both print and online, including McSweeney’s.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Bailie works his ripped-from-the-comic books premise and dystopian stylings to mostly muted effect in his second novel (after Cloud 8). Government agents rescue narrator John Smith from a fire in the mad scientists' laboratory in which he was created, but when tests prove John to be devoid of special powers, he is shipped off to the subterranean Secret Government Home for the Products of Mad Science. Bailie peppers his account of John's wardship there with wit and occasional grace, but the experience is mostly mundane: the boys study from discarded textbooks and old sit-coms, and are nourished on a steady diet of macaroni and cheese. In the second half of the novel, John is released to an adult life in the dreary city of Mortarville, where he works as the security director at the last remaining downtown mall and fills his days writing reports and presiding over a team of incompetent employees. John finds love (or at least sex), but he is dogged by the feeling that he is not quite human. John's disaffection provides the through-line, and while the book has its share of intelligence, wit and snatches of imaginative writing, neither John, nor his narrative, comes fully to life. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780978843113
  • Publisher: Ig Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/2008
  • Pages: 225
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Grant Bailie's first novel Cloud 8 was called "mad, fascinating, and really quite moving" by Kirkus, and "tender and introspective" by Boston's Weekly Dig. Grant's work has been selected for honors by the Writer's & Poets League of Greater Cleveland, and in 2005, he participated in the widely heralded Novel: A Living Installation at Flux Factory.
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