Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Grove Press/Atlantic Monthly Press
With The Player and The Return of the Player, Michael Tolkin established himself as the master novelist of modern Hollywood. In his new novel, NK3, the H LYW OD sign presides over a Los Angeles devastated by a weaponized microbe that has been accidentally spread around the globe, deleting human identity.
In post-NK3 Los Angeles, a sixty-foot-tall fence surrounds the hills where the rich used to live, but the mansions have been taken over by those with the only power that matters: the power of memory. Inside the Fence, life for the new aristocracy, a society of the partially rehabilitated who call themselves the Verified, is a perpetual party. Outside the Fence, in downtown Los Angeles, the Verified use an invented mythology to keep control over the mindless and nameless Drifters, Shamblers, and Bottle Bangers who serve the new aristocracy until no longer needed. The ruler, Chief, takes his guidance from gigantic effigies of a man and a woman in the heart of the Fence. They warn him of trouble to come, but who is the person to watch: the elusive Eckmann, holed up at LAX; Shannon Squier, a chisel-wielding pop superstar from the pre-NK3 world; a treacherous member of Chief’s inner circle; or Hopper, a Drifter compelled by an inner voice to search for a wife whose name and face he doesn’t know? Each threatens to upset the delicate power balance in this fragile world.
In deliciously dark prose, Tolkin winds a noose-like plot around this melee of despots, prophets, and rebels as they struggle for command and survival in a town that still manages to exert a magnetic force, even as a ruined husk.
“Brave, brilliant and barely speculative… It’s tempting to call NK3 the first book of the Trump era.”–Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick and Summer of Hate
“Tolkin’s mad world of imbeciles and cast-offs bears a cruel resemblance to our own, yet he approaches it kindly, with mournful pity. An inspired speculative satire, wickedly stimulating but soulful, too. It got to me, this novel. I just can’t shake it.”—Walter Kirn, author of Up in The Air and Blood Will Out
“Award-winning writer, director, and producer Tolkin presents a post-apocalyptic examination of near-future Los Angeles . . . Tolkin’s use of language evokes in the reader the feelings of confusion and mistrust experienced by the survivors. Readers looking for something reminiscent of World War Z and Cory Doctorow’s work should give this one a try.”—Booklist
Michael Tolkin is an award-winning writer, director, and producer. His novels include The Player, The Return of the Player, Among the Dead, and Under Radar. For the film adaptation of The Player, Tolkin won the Writers Guild Award, the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, the PEN Center USA West Literary Award, and the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Crime Screenplay. Most recently, he has been a consulting producer and writer for the Showtime series Ray Donovan.