In this loose World-Mart prequel, the world of corporate greed runs rampant after the government's dissolution has left police, fire, and all other services in the hands of privatized businesses and wealthy investors.
John and Dianne Irwin are doing everything they can to shield their son, Junior, from the world's ever-expanding corruption. Dianne's junkie sister and her cluelessly entitled parents don't help. Even more, Dianne's livelihood as a painter has been deemed obsolete, and the tighter money gets, the closer they find themselves a mere tragedy or illness away from ruin.
With the class divide ever widening, debtor prisons for the lower and middle classes overflowing, disease ravaging the country, and resources running dry, the Irwins must survive the battleground generated by those who would crush the lower classes for their own gain and those who've waged a war against them, against a corrupt system ruled by The Private Sector.
Lane provides an engrossing view of a dystopian American future where the privatization of public services erodes living standards. John and Dianne Irwin, committed to maintaining personal integrity and raising son Junior amid social decay, find foils in Dianne's degraded serum-addicted sister Jenny and wealthy mother Emma's fatuous life. Despite the sometimes too-obvious satirical asides, the ambiguous ending gives this compelling and timely narrative a substantial impact, while the differing perspectives of minor characters and questions of how best to reform society add complexity to the story framework and give the reader much to ponder.
Date Submitted: June 22, 2016