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The Originals by L.E. Vollick


The terror of atomic war, a paranoid arms race, a stark divide between rich and poor — in The Originals, L.E. Vollick’s debut novel, Reagan-era legacies such as these are seen from the perspective of nightclub subculture and the food bank. Magpie Smith confronts a street-level zeitgeist of fatalism in the early 1990s, bringing to life in the process a dysfunctional family of disenfranchised youth, from Benny, the self-glamorizing drug dealer to Jackson, the overprotective bouncer at the Underground.

When Jackson brutally beats a would-be thief at the club, Magpie must rethink her allegiances. Through a haze of illness, inebriation and LSD, what becomes increasingly clear is that individual interests are beginning to blow the solidarity of the Underground apart. Vexed by the disappearance of her friend and intellectual guide, PK, Magpie tries to hold things together, but is led increasingly to question the fragile foundations of both her own small world and the larger one.

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