Select one of the keywords
The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse    by Jonathan Selwood order for
Pinball Theory of Apocalypse
by Jonathan Selwood
Order:  USA  Can
Perennial, 2007 (2007)
Softcover, e-Book
*   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

Painter Isabel Ravel has spent years forging lesser known Impressionist masterpieces to decorate the McMansions of her clients. When she begins working her own social commentary into her paintings she hits upon an idea that makes her the It Girl of the art scene in Los Angeles. Suddenly everyone is craving Isabel's paintings of the Mona Lisa with Cher's face and American Gothic with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes substituted for the farmer and his wife. But just as Isabel begins raking in money her life heads into a tailspin.

Jonathan Selwood's The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse begins with artist Isabel Raven putting the final touches on two new paintings. Despite her recent success and upcoming gallery debut she is a mess - losing weight, suffering from stress, and plagued with fears of selling out. The story opens with an earthquake, after which Isabel's apartment building is condemned, and she is forced to move in with her unorthodox parents. Matters grow worse when her aggressive agent promises to 'gut her like an emu' if she refuses to take on an ad campaign for a new type of sex-altering surgery. Isabel's personal chef boyfriend also is having an affair with a sixteen-year-old pop star. With no one else to turn to, Isabel looks to a Dutch-Eskimo billionaire and his thirteen-year-old adopted daughter who is headed down a criminal path. Ultimately, Isabel Raven must examine her own existence and that of the people in her native city to determine what she wants in life.

Selwood weaves together all of these characters in a bold, sweeping fashion. The events and individuals are exaggerated to gross stereotypes to achieve the delusional atmosphere of Los Angeles. It is difficult to establish any sense of connection with the story's larger-than-life characters or with Isabel and her seemingly random personality. Bombarded with each character and new development wilder than the one before, this reader had the sense of a pinball machine, as the story's title suggests. However, the book was somewhat of a dizzying and confusing ride.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews