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"Oval" by Elvia Wilk

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"Oval" by Elvia Wilk

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About Oval:

Bizarre weather. Unprecedented economic disparity. Artists employed by corporations as consultants. And the ultimate work of art: Oval, a pill that increases generosity. This unforgettable debut novel asks questions of empathy and power on every scale—from bodies to bureaucracies—to create an unsettling portrait of the future of Berlin.

In the near future, Berlin’s real estate has become more unaffordable than ever; artists are employed by corporations as consultants; and the weather is acting strange. In search of housing, Anja and Louis move into a community on an artificial mountain, where they’re offered a home rent free in exchange for keeping quiet about the eco-settlement’s seriously malfunctioning infrastructure.

When Louis returns from his mother’s funeral, Anja is convinced he has changed. He seems to be in denial of his grief, consumed by a secret project at the NGO where he works. Anja is horrified when she discovers what Louis has invented: a pill called Oval that temporarily rewires the user’s brain to be more generous. Louis believes if he can introduce the drug into the Berlin club scene, he can remedy the inequality that has made Berlin so unlivable.

Oval is a fascinating portrait of the unbalanced relationships that shape our world, as well as a prescient warning of what the future may hold.

About Elvia Wilk:

Elvia Wilk is a writer and editor living in New York and Berlin. She writes about art, architecture, and technology for several publications, including friezeArtforume-fluxMetropolisMousseFlash ArtArt in America, and Zeit Online.

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