I am in the midst of reading Nick Harkaway’s The Gone-Away World. He reminds me a lot of Michael Marshall Smith.
MMS writes books that jump in in the middle of the story. He writes, basically, sequels to books that haven’t been written. There’s always a whole book worth of story back there that sort of gets referenced, but never actually gets explained. The Gone-Away World is basically one of those stories: the messed-up, violent, young, true-love story from the past in which inexplicable surreal things happen to the world resulting in chaos and mayhem and a class of people who live to sort out that chaos and mayhem.
It’s not that I think this work is derivative. I very much don’t. But it is distinctly in the same genre, and I can’t think of a lot of books in that genre.
I think it is delightful, and dark, and philosophical, and I go between laughing out loud (and getting strange looks) and being sad both for the characters and for the world they’re living in.