SL Grey‘s The Mall tells the story of angsty emo-kid Dan and and a wayward junkie called Rhoda who enlists Dan in her search for her missing babysitter. Dan hates his job and Rhoda hates her life, but things get worse for the pair as they find themselves in the bowels of a neon-lit shopping mall, where strange things start to happen.
The UK edition of The Mall has premiered to positive reviews at Amazon UK’s Kindle Store, with one reviewer writing, “I had thought that the last word on consumerism came with Fight Club and No Logo, and anything that followed would be a retread of familiar ground, but SL Grey has somehow managed to make this well-trodden theme and everything that goes with it seem fresh again”.
In short w00t!! Congrats to Grey (and her two anatomists) and read on to lap up some more:
I’ll cut to the chase: The Mall is absolutely brilliant.
I had thought that the last word on consumerism came with Fight Club and No Logo, and anything that followed would be a retread of familiar ground, but SL Grey has somehow managed to make this well-trodden theme and everything that goes with it seem fresh again.
I would never have expected this to happen within the narrative of a psychological horror/thriller – I was expecting a simple, lean mash-up of Saw, Cube and Fight Club going by the blurb – so what I read was a nice surprise. Character-wise, I was really turned round on the lead character of Rhoda (an object lesson in how to make an initially unsympathetic person compelling enough to want to be around), and the places that she and other lead Dan are taken emotionally are surprising yet always feel authentic.
What’s best about the book is that its premise screams “commercial” but there’s more to it than what’s on the surface. Part two’s bravely luxurious pace allows the character stuff the space to breathe, and while a return to The Mall always seems inevitable (and it’s brilliant how it actually seems possible that such a return is desirable), the discoveries that Rhoda and Dan make about each other, and how far both characters have come since the opening of the novel, make their realisation of what they must do have an emotional truth that’s pretty rare in today’s commercial fiction.
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The Mall is edgy, spooky and real…ANd also really funny. Fargo meets the Matrix meets Das Kapital. I loved the satire, the description and the action. McColon’s Big Fat Number 2 (eeeeuuuu, puke, retch!), the delightful Colt’s body image issues, Dan’s angst and little neuroses, Rhoda’s kickass grit, the buffoon security guards… And the surprisingly normalness of it all. Very vivid. I felt like I was reading a movie. This book is hard to categorise but really fun and freaky at the same time. I can’t walk past shop mannequins in the same way again!