SOFT INVASIONS: “NOTHING SHORT OF MASTERFUL”

“James Reich’s Soft Invasions (Anti-Oedipus Press) is a powerful fusion of noir, thriller, and historical fiction, sentence after sentence evincing great style and intelligence, its metaphors as refreshingly unusual as they are perfectly realized. Think Nathanael West, Graham Greene, and Joseph Conrad. With a pre- and post-Pearl Harbor bombing Los Angeles as its backdrop, Reich deftly explores peculiarly American anxieties and prejudices, while theorizing about identity, doppelgängers, mirrors, artificiality, consumerism, and militarism. So much darkness in this book, which is often countered by light, albeit light, and often sunlight, that blinds, that scorches. So much violence in this book, its unflinching depictions of war and empathetic rendering of a ritual disembowelment and subsequent arson particularly noteworthy. The novel’s jumping backward and forward in time is engagingly disruptive, its “momentum” further disrupted by nightmares, or are they hallucinations? Finally, its ending(s), which mirror(s) the novel’s various doublings, is nothing short of masterful. Highly recommended.” – John Madera