The Booked. Anthology Review 4: “Scenes from the City of Garbage and the City of Clay” by Paul Tremblay

Roller coasters used to drive me crazy, that slow climb to the top; it’s maddening. Getting there was always so slow, and you knew eventually you would find that lip where you just had to get beyond the crest, and all you can see is the ground rushing up at you. But that climb, man, that potential. The rest of the ride, all of the whipping and hurtling through time and space is just right there; you can feel the icy chill of it all in your fingertips. “Scenes from the City of Garbage and the City of Clay” is jam packed with that slow, insanity-inducing climb.

You’re following the lives of a transplant living with her uncle and aunt shortly after her parents have passed away. Also, there’s an actor preparing for what is either the biggest role of his life or the biggest failure of a doomed career. The two of them roam the streets of a dying New York City, suffocating under heaps of garbage because waste management employees are on strike. And as the two main characters walk, they find presents addressed to no one in particular on top of the garbage. What they find inside these packages are the keys to everything they are looking for in life.

Kinetic energy is a bitch to someone like me. I’m impatient and suffer from Obessive-Compulsive Disorder. No, I don’t flip light switches eighteen times or go crazy because I haven’t washed my hands every hour. But once a thought creeps into my head, I have to do something about it or I’ll mentally gnaw on myself about that thought until I’m beside myself. The three main characters, including the city, are on the brink of the rest of their lives. That icy chill is starting to inch into their fingers, and without each other, without doing something about that dormant potential, they’re doomed to squander forever.

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