Factory 19 (Dennis Glover, Black Inc.)
Dennis Glover’s second novel, an intriguing potential unveiling of our very near future, is crafted with a light touch and a satirical sense of humour. Factory 19 is a reflection on the societal, economic and political decline that we are dangerously close to achieving with our dependence on gadgets, tech giants and the digital world—and a past that we view through rose-coloured glasses to escape the inevitable breakdown so many of us are one device away from having. Hobart, 2022. A deep recession (and depression) has fallen over the once-booming Tasmanian capital, residents have fled in droves and the economy has almost entirely crumbled. That is, until an enigmatic billionaire reappears with a dream: to build a community completely devoid of modern technology and grounded firmly in 1948—Factory 19. To Paul Richey, a former political speechwriter who suffered a very public breakdown and developed an allergy to digital technology, it is Arcadia. But how long can you hold industry, progress and society in one era before the seeds of revolution begin to grow? Humorous, thought-provoking and entirely imaginable, Factory 19 is a fascinating commentary on where we may be headed.
Kate Frawley is a bookseller and the manager of the Sun Bookshop.