|They is Us is the tenth book by author Tama
Janowitz, but the first work I have read by her. The book bills itself as a cautionary
horror story (right there on the front cover immediately under the title), but to me it
was a satirical dystopia in the vein of Philip K. Dick or Thomas M. Disch in one of his
lighter moods (think of an uplifting 334).
They is Us
is set in New Jersey in the late 21st century and has taken current trends in
pollution, consumerism, biological research, marketing and American politics (and much
more) to logical if absurd extrapolations. The action centres on one family and friends,
and their hopes, dreams and living reality. The author has done a wonderful job of
creating believable characters living bizarre lives as a vehicle for her satire. The novel
works as a story and as satire. Ignoring the satire They is Us read well as
a straight "predictive" science fiction novel. I liked this book as it worked at
a variety of levels.
If there were any failings in this book they were down to my ignorance of current
issues and trends in America; which means the satire aspects of They is Us
may not last over the long-term, but at least the novel will still be readable in years to
If you enjoy satire or tongue in cheek dystopic visions, then grab this book and sit
down to a satisfying read. I, on the other hand, may need to hunt up more of Ms Janowitz.