Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson

Landscape with Invisible Hand

National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson returns to future Earth in a sharply wrought satire of art and truth in the midst of colonization.When the vuvv first landed, it came as a surprise to aspiring artist Adam and the rest of planet Earth - but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Can it really be called an invasion when the vuvv generously offered free advanced technolog...

Title:Landscape with Invisible Hand
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Edition Language:English

Landscape with Invisible Hand Reviews

  • Emily

    Futuristic satire so sharp I'm probably now bleeding internally in a few places. Novella-length short, would make a good YA classroom read - super discussable. And not 100% bleak. More like 80-20.

  • Brandy

    Terrifying in how timely this is. Aliens invaded Earth, sure, but it's really more colonization than invasion. They've brought technologies, and automation! They will help the economy! Except that automation means fewer jobs, which means higher unemployment, and everything goes downhill accordingly. (This is why the "realistic" tag, despite the aliens.)

    Adam is an artist. He's struggling to support his family and be true to his own ideals. Whether he's trying to hold a failing relationship togeth

    Terrifying in how timely this is. Aliens invaded Earth, sure, but it's really more colonization than invasion. They've brought technologies, and automation! They will help the economy! Except that automation means fewer jobs, which means higher unemployment, and everything goes downhill accordingly. (This is why the "realistic" tag, despite the aliens.)

    Adam is an artist. He's struggling to support his family and be true to his own ideals. Whether he's trying to hold a failing relationship together (for the ratings) or struggling with an embarrassing disease (because his family can't afford the medical treatment), Adam has a unique perspective and voice.

    It's a bleak portrait of the future, but not a distant one--a near future, one where automation has put millions out of work, where healthcare is only afforded to the super-rich, where teaching is replaced by one-size-fits-all videos and the arts are utterly unsupported.

    Publishing schedules being what they are, this had to have been written before the Trump administration took hold, and yet. ... this is a harsh, unflinching look at Trump's America. Monetize everything; you're only worthwhile if you're wealthy; fuck the poor and sick.

    I want this book everywhere.

  • Jen

    I got a copy of this signed for a friend who didn't like Feed. I loved Feed, so hoped that maybe he would like a different book by Anderson.

    After reading to page 57, I skipped to the end and am asking forgiveness from my friend. This was really quite bad.

    Setting/World. Takes place in the near-future, after benevolent, if business-minded (not benevolent if they only want $, just my two-cents) aliens come to Earth with amazing tech. That only the rich can have. So far, I'm seeing it. Then it goes

    I got a copy of this signed for a friend who didn't like Feed. I loved Feed, so hoped that maybe he would like a different book by Anderson.

    After reading to page 57, I skipped to the end and am asking forgiveness from my friend. This was really quite bad.

    Setting/World. Takes place in the near-future, after benevolent, if business-minded (not benevolent if they only want $, just my two-cents) aliens come to Earth with amazing tech. That only the rich can have. So far, I'm seeing it. Then it goes off the rails.

    The aliens decide no more clean sources of drinking water for the poor masses. They don't say WHY, maybe to make more money when the poor get sick from untreated water? Main MC has a nasty stomach bug due to dirty water. Never thought to boil it, really? So that's kinda weird.

    Then the statement that alien made food is cheaper than American grown. Ok, I can see that. But then to say everyone was out of work, so no money for food, BUT cheaper to buy food than to grow your own?!? Really?!? Cuz if the parents had no job prospects, they had a back and front yard. GROW food for your family for crying out loud! How is that more expensive than spending money you don't have on food?

    I think this was supposed to be some sort of awesome social commentary that completely missed the mark for me. Maybe my friend can explain it to me, because I just didn't get it at ALL. I hope he likes it, I know I didn't.

    1.5 stars, not sure which way to round, since I really almost hated it, but I did want to see what happened at the end and I liked the ending, so up to two stars.

  • Figgy

    Review to come.

    Didn't go where I was expecting... Painted a very tangible feeling of lower class, and of the medium class being thrown into that same hardship.

    Interesting layout with each chapter having a "title" that matches a corresponding artwork created by the main character.

  • Dawn Abron

    4.5

    One day aliens inhabited, not invaded, earth promising a better life but it was actually only for the 1%. The rest of the world is poor and starving and trying to find a way to get up to the sky to live like the wealthy. Adam and his family is unfortunately the 99% and their life is abysmal.

    Adam is an artist and paints everything he sees and I wondered how he could afford all his supplies when his ever optimist mother is unemployed. I know his teacher buys supplies for his class but does Adam

    4.5

    One day aliens inhabited, not invaded, earth promising a better life but it was actually only for the 1%. The rest of the world is poor and starving and trying to find a way to get up to the sky to live like the wealthy. Adam and his family is unfortunately the 99% and their life is abysmal.

    Adam is an artist and paints everything he sees and I wondered how he could afford all his supplies when his ever optimist mother is unemployed. I know his teacher buys supplies for his class but does Adam take supplies home? Paint and especially canvas is expensive; I guess we aren’t supposed to ask questions. Back to the review…

    Adam and his girlfriend get a great idea to make money- a reality show about their love. They film episodes of their dates and since the aliens, the vuvv, “invaded” during a 50’s themed drive-in movie, the vuvv love everything 50’s nostalgia and Adam and his girlfriend have to use words like groovy. Of course at some point they begin to hate each other and it becomes a problem much like Adam’s entire life. He has a disease that gives him no control of his bowels, his father is a dick, and his girlfriend and her family are dicks too. So when Adam has an opportunity to win an art contest that could get his family up to the 1%, you just know that that is NEVER going to happen-DAMN YOU MT; CAN'T THIS LOVELY FAMILY CATCH A BREAK! I was so angry and frustrated at this wonderful family’s bad luck that I began to hate this book but I knew there was a deeper message so I trucked along.

    There is an ending and that’s all I’ll say but I liked it and the message and it stayed true to the story and the family.

    This was a short albeit heartbreaking story about a little family who tries to stay positive in their shitty lives. Adam had a great attitude and took no crap from anyone and his mother’s half glass full perspective really helped me get through this depressing book.

  • Ameriie

    Wonderful. I really enjoy Mr. Anderson's voice, as well as the parallels he makes in his stories. His books are raw and immersive, throwing you in without preamble, trusting you to figure out the world.

  • Jill

    Ever since I fell hard for

    as a teenager, I’ve followed M.T. Anderson’s career. His repertoire is eclectic to say the least, regrouping children’s adventure novels, historical nonfiction, and award-winning YA. In

    , he returns to the lands of trenchant satire that I first discovered and adored so much in

    . If he could write one of these tomes every single year, gradually taking on everything that ails us—racism, capitalism, consumerism, imperialism, and so on

    Ever since I fell hard for

    as a teenager, I’ve followed M.T. Anderson’s career. His repertoire is eclectic to say the least, regrouping children’s adventure novels, historical nonfiction, and award-winning YA. In

    , he returns to the lands of trenchant satire that I first discovered and adored so much in

    . If he could write one of these tomes every single year, gradually taking on everything that ails us—racism, capitalism, consumerism, imperialism, and so on—I would be a happy reader forever.

    Here the tone is similar to

    ’s but more focused. The vuvv, an alien species with high tech and voices like sandpaper, have colonized Earth, leaving its human inhabitants to scrabble in the mud leftover. Anderson throws the reader directly into this dystopia, leaving her to draw the lines between Earth in 2017 and his fictional Earth of the near future. Although I take heart in the fact that Anderson trusts the reader to fill in the blanks, I would have appreciated more detail on the hows, whens, and whys, simply to take advantage of his imagination. The book clocks in at a scant 160 pages, and I can't help but wonder why it wasn't expanded to novel length since there is more than enough material to support it.

    On this vuvv-conquered Earth, humans have nothing left to sell: vuvv technology can make everything better, faster, and cheaper. That’s why our hero Adam must sell the only things he’s got: love and art. Anderson dissects the dangers of commodifying that which was once considered sacred. The ensuing hijinks become zanier and zanier as the story moves forward, ramping to deliriously comic heights with one of the grossest and funniest break-up scenes in memory before climaxing with a laugh-out-loud speech about monetary policy and the metric system (American exceptionalism on the metric question persists even post-apocalypse).

    Faced with this cracked mirror of a story, I groaned, I guffawed, I shuddered. The satire flies so high, it may be in orbit, but it works because Adam is a believable and empathetic protagonist. He not only has to worry about the end of life as he knew it but also mundane concerns like “Is it embarrassing to be seen with my teacher out of school?” and “Will that hot girl maybe kiss me?”

    is too short to saw away a piece of your heart like

    but it’ll certainly stab you in the stomach a few times in between your fits of laughter.

  • Erin

    Woooooooooooooooooooooow

    "Feed" was the last M.T. Anderson book I read, and that was probably over a decade ago. Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled when I saw that he had some new material coming out in the fall. That said, it can also be a bit nerve racking when an author has been out of your life for so long. I mean, I loved "Feed" and Anderson's writing style is one of my favorites, but what if after so long, it just didn't have the same effect? I mean I've changed, he's probably changed,

    Woooooooooooooooooooooow

    "Feed" was the last M.T. Anderson book I read, and that was probably over a decade ago. Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled when I saw that he had some new material coming out in the fall. That said, it can also be a bit nerve racking when an author has been out of your life for so long. I mean, I loved "Feed" and Anderson's writing style is one of my favorites, but what if after so long, it just didn't have the same effect? I mean I've changed, he's probably changed, so many variables!

    Well, I shouldn't have worried, because "Landscape with Invisible Hand" definitely reminded my why I love Anderson's work so much. This is a slim book, just cresting over a 100 pages, but my goodness does it pack a powerful punch. The desolation and deterioration of not only Adam and Chloe's relationship but Earth as a whole and its inhabitants is heartbreaking and, quite honestly, an interesting commentary on our country's current state. Additionally, with such sparse language, Anderson does an exceptional job of not only captivating his reader but he's also able to do so in a weirdly brutal and beautiful way. I think my favorite aspect of this book, though, is just how much discussion power it has for teens. I can seriously picture them talking for hours over this book and for that as well as all of the other reasons I mentioned, this is an absolute necessity in all YA library collections. Seriously. I'm probably going to re-read it right now . . . and maybe again after that . . .

    * Received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

  • Renata

    how is M.T. Anderson so good at writing every kind of book

    is he a witch

    I just don't know

    this was beautiful and difficult and ultimately hopeful in just the best way

  • Jessica Woodbury

    A sci-fi satire on class where the uncaring ultra-rich are subbed for uncaring aliens. Ridiculously bleak (I'm a fan of bleak but it was tough). 3 stars for me because I couldn't ultimately see what Anderson was going for besides the basic metaphor. I like satire to have an extra layer of bite, and never found it here.

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