The first words of “In a Perfect World” are startling: “If you are READING this you are going to DIE!” They come straight from Sara’s journal, which is conspicuously left in the open, as if inviting the detested Jiselle to read it. (She does.) The words are doubly unnerving for us, the readers, for surely they are accurate: By reading the novel, we are reading the journal, too, and the curse turns out to be the common curse on all mankind. Yet we read on, forgetting those words, as Kasischke subtly, believably frees her characters from their anguish. Their resourcefulness in the face of the plague and the gradual mending of seemingly irreparable rifts feel both inevitable and true. Without giving anything away, the book’s final, winding sentence at last puts the words “a perfect world” in their perfect place. The reader may well come away with the odd, exhilarating feeling that a spell has both been cast and broken.
more from Ed Park at the LA Times here.