Tuesday, July 2, 2019

"Green Valley"

Louis Greenberg is a renowned writer in his own right, having been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for his debut novel The Beggars’ Signwriters (2007), but is perhaps more known for his work with Sarah Lotz as one half of internationally bestselling S.L. Grey.

Green Valley is his first solo novel to be published outside his native South Africa. He is currently based in England.

Greenberg applied the Page 69 Test to Green Valley and reported the following:
From page 69:
It was near six when I got to the precinct. Though it had felt like a week, I’d only been in Green Valley for five hours, and I guessed Barbra would still be in the office.

I took a stabilising breath before hurrying and greeting the desk officer. ‘Hi. I know I shouldn’t be here after hours, but I’ve left my keys behind. I got all the way home and scratched around in my damn bag… they have to be on my desk. Well, I goddamn hope so. You mind if I go take a look?’

‘Sure,’ he said. ‘You gotta sign in, though.’

‘Of course,’ I said, hoping he wouldn’t look too closely at the dirt under my nails. Most of Green Valley had come off in the shower, but not all. After signing in, I patted my jacket’s inner pocket – the signal-proof pouch was still there. Even though I trusted the Sentinel tech’s capacity to block its signals, and the fact that I’d been able to smuggle it out of Zeroth’s liaison office undetected proved that it was working, I couldn’t help imagining radio-wave tendrils punching a microscopic hole through the pouch’s defences and speeding their way back to Zeroth to expose me. The sooner I handed this thing off, the better. And if Barbra wasn’t in the office? I’d have to hold onto it till the morning, feel Zeroth’s tentacles clawing out to it all night. Fuck, I hoped she was there.
While page 69 of Green Valley gives you a representative sense of the first-person narrative and the perspective, voice and concerns of Lucie Sterling, the main protagonist, it might mystify you if you open up here. It’s the very start of Part II, and it’ll be as if you’ve started a miniseries on episode two. You won’t know what Lucie’s just seen. She’s returned to Stanton from a very unsettling visit to Green Valley, an enclave across town where the remnants of a big-tech firm, Zeroth, live in permanent virtual reality. Eight years ago, Stanton voted to outlaw the internet and digital technology, and since then Green Valley has been shunned.

But now, dead Green Valley kids have been appearing in Stanton, and Lucie’s had no choice to go and see her brother-in-law – her dead sister’s niece is still inside Green Valley and nobody knows exactly where she is. And Lucie has other reasons for going in: she’s part of Sentinel, a covert policing unit run by Barbra Reeve that’s keeping tabs on Green Valley. This opportunity to go inside has offered a rare chance to bug the enclave. Now she wants to return the kit to Barbra and be done with it.

Although everything seemed fine inside Green Valley when she visited, Lucie can’t shake the feeling that everything isn’t quite as it seemed. Virtual reality has a way of doing that. And although Kira’s been located, Lucie’s not sure whether she can trust what she’s just experienced.

You’ll need to read on to find out more!
Visit Louis Greenberg's website.

Writers Read: Louis Greenberg.

--Marshal Zeringue