A fierce, searing response to the chaos of the war on terror. An utterly original and blackly comic debut.
- “Doten’s debut is the most audaciously imaginative political novel I’ve ever read. . . . The sheer poundage of originality is remarkable.”—The New York Times Book Review
In the early years of the Iraq war, a severely burned boy appears on a remote rock formation in the Akkad valley. A shadowy, powerful group within the US government speculates: Who is he? Where did he come from? And, crucially, what does he know? In pursuit of that information, an interrogator is summoned from his prison cell, and a hideous and forgotten apparatus of torture, which extracts “perfect confessions,” is retrieved from the vaults. Over the course of four days, a cavalcade of voices rises up from the Akkad boy, each one striving to tell his or her own story. Some of these voices are familiar: Osama Bin Laden, L. Paul Bremer, Condoleezza Rice, Mark Zuckerberg. Others are less so. But each one has a role in the world shaped by the war on terror. Each wants to tell us: this is the world as it exists in our innermost selves. This is what has been and what might be. This is The Infernal.
- “Kurt Vonnegut took on the Second World War. Robert Coover, Thomas Pynchon and Joseph Heller grappled with Vietnam. In the same spirit of dark comedy and riotous satire, Doten powerfully reimagines our latest American adventure.”—Los Angeles Times
- “Doten has written a ravishingly mad post-Bush riposte to the collaboratively written Internet text—the Wiki, which doesn’t document facts so much as it documents the process by which ‘facts’ are generated and then perpetually overwritten.”—Harper’s Magazine
- “[A] prodigious, provocative debut. . . . Touched by brilliance throughout.”—The Washington Post
- “Legitimately thrilling inventiveness and wild, dark humor. . . . Doten has created an impressionistic map of the atomized imperial realities of the War on Terror.”—The Believer