When a book starts with a scene involving substance abuse by way of an injection into the testicles, you know that you’re going to be in for a strange read. This is my first high with Jessica McHugh and I sort of went into this not really having a clue what to expect. I love the cover art. I saw it and thought it would be a sci-fi-style-romp with a little bit of weird thrown into the mix. I was right to some degree with the story taking place in 2099. The story follows Perry Samson; and addict hopelessly addicted to the drug ‘Atlys’. In a nutshell, what we have is a tale about substance abuse and the effect it has upon a family.
The start of a book is so important. The reader needs to be pulled in straight away and that is exactly what happens with ‘The Green Kangaroos’. The stage is set and you are left with a want to know where the book is going. Like I said, this is the first time I have read Jessica McHugh and I really liked the writing. Not too wordy but she gives you enough to get that image inside of your brain. I often find reading sci-fi style fiction that writers spend far too much time describing the world at the expense of the story. This is not the case here, with McHugh keeping the pacing fast and the story at the forefront. At times the writing is really good and there are some brilliantly written passages where McHugh describes such horrible things with a real literary flair.
There are some terrific ideas inside of this novel. The idea of a smokehouse where people sell lumps of their flesh for drugs is bizarre, yet unsettling and shows that McHugh has a wild imagination. ‘The Green Kangaroos’ is a hard book to categorise, not that it needs to be put into a category, but people like to know what they are letting themselves in for. It could sit comfortably into a number of genres yet it still has a real originality about it. Is it sci-fi, a dark dystopian thriller? Who knows, though I do think this is one of those books you will either love or hate. I am not much of a fence sitter, myself. I really enjoyed reading it. It was very different to what I usually dine on but a welcome change and It is the exactly the sort of book I expect to read from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing; one that is a bit left of center but is well-written and engaging.
If you’re looking for a gritty ride through the seedy underbelly of a future Baltimore then this is the book for you. It’s harsh, shocking, uncomfortable reading at times but once you get into it, it is a tough book to put down. I enjoy reading books that are different and I look forward to reading more from Jessica McHugh.
You can buy a copy of The Green Kangaroos from here.