Friday, January 27, 2006
What I'm Reading -- Popco
Popco by Scarlett Thomas is the best novel I have read in a while. You do have to ignore the intense pretentiousness and preachiness that permeates the end of the book. Alice Butler, however, is a great character who carries this work. Alice works at Popco, an enormous and somewhat shady toymaker. Alice is chosen to work on a top-secret assignment to create a trendy marketable product to teen girls. Things get confusing, however, when she starts receiving notes in codes that only her late grandfather and treasure-seeking dad would know she could read. The sensibilities of Thomas are what got me instantly hooked on this book. Alice is a lonely, intelligent mid-20s girl who is amazingly cynical, but very thoughtful. Following her navigate through her new assignment with several bizarre co-workers, her one true friend and a new romantic interest is great stuff. There are a lot of long monologue-type ruminations on code breaking and society in general.