Wow… Lynda Barry, one of my favorite cartoonists when I was a young adult, like totally agrees with me. It’s like I’m in Duplex right now, reading this, because Lynda Barry could be standing inside me.
When I finished “Duplex” I had the unshakable feeling that I’d only read half of the book, and the other half was still in there and if I wanted to finish it, I’d need to read it again. I wasn’t wrong. By then I’d fallen in love with Davis’s writing, what it did to me, that combination of horror and excitement that spilled out of the book, into my past, into the now, into everything around me. The novel is packed with ordinary things (tuna casserole, skinned knees, hot water heaters, red barrettes) and extraordinary things (robots the size of needles, “dactilo ports” in restrooms, those flying scows), and then there are things that fall somewhere in between: the word “aquanaut,” a purse-shaped thing called a “Mary bean” that can drift across the ocean to other continents, a convent named after a girl who was roasted on a brazier.