The Impossibly

The Impossibly, by Laird Hunt, is a spy story. Sort of. The unnamed narrator is vague and uncertain to a comic degree, saying things like: "In those days I was in the middle of two or three things that seemed to take up unnecessarily large amounts of my time, but of course there was no getting around them." and "As I lay in the middle of the floor, the river made a rich smooth sound so that it seemed as if there was an extra layer of fresh paint pouring constantly across my new apartment's walls. Or something like that." He works works for a nameless organization, in a series of nameless cities, doing unknown and shady jobs whose significance the reader never quite learns. Except for odd details, like one job including red duct tape and a sharpened feather duster, or another involving throwing a corpse in a flowered skirt into a river, or the narrator being tied to a chair and having his extremities stapled, nothing is ever specified. The settings are just on the far side of familiar. The various cities are not ones I recognize, with their tenements, rivers, and odd restaurants, and the people's clothes seem slightly off: orange hats with sunglasses, hunting capes, feathered masks. People throw "events," instead of parties, and the narrator goes to a "manipulator" instead of a chiropractor. Memories and stories are not to be trusted. This novel's noir tone comes from the uncertainty of the world, not just the dark of night time.

-- Caleb