I recently finished reading Your Cities, Your Tombs by Jordan Krall, and it was so good I am putting a review on my blog.
Wow. Having read the first three books in this series I was extremely eager to finish the saga off, and what a finish it is. Krall states at the beginning that to understand the content of the book you need to have read the first book beforehand. I’m not so sure, as this novel feels self-contained. It does assume an intimacy with the characters beforehand, but within these covers is a complete arc of exploration of the deepest recesses of the human psyche. Do not take that to mean you should not read the other books, for they too are exceptional works of fiction.
It’s hard to explain the plot in this story, but it involves metafictional elements in which terrorism, voyeurism, paranoia, mental illness and nostalgia come together in an delirious, explosive narrative that culminates in the entire destruction of a city.
The events are told through fast paced micro-chapters, revealing the unwinding sanity of the characters in a disintegrating world propped up by pills and obsession. Through beautifully choreographed violent images superimposed onto one another – the collapse of structures, of minds and of relationships, of reality itself as we move through diegetic dimensions within the world of the story – Krall infects the reader with a sense of overwhelming dread that there is no safe haven from the inevitable: our cities will be our tombs.
Throughout the work, the language is sublime. Whether it is the poetic collapse of buildings, stark statements on human nature or dialogue forged with a scary realism, Krall expertly generates an intense atmosphere from start to end.
I will echo other reviewers here, and boldly state that this is Krall’s best work to date. I hope to see more from him in this vein.
The other books in this series are:
Jordan Krall currently runs Dynatox Ministries, a micropress specialising in limited edition chapbooks of weird, experimental fiction and non-fiction. I am proud to say my book, Apparatus of Capture, was published by them.