The Tiger Flu
In this visionary novel by Larissa Lai -- her first in sixteen years -- a community of parthenogenic women, sent into exile by patriarchal and corporate Salt Water City, go to war against disease, technology, and an economic system that threatens them with extinction.
Kirilow is a doctor apprentice whose lover, Peristrophe, is a "starfish," a woman who can regenerate her own limbs and organs, which she uses to help her clone sisters whose organs are failing. When a denizen from Salt Water City suffering from a mysterious flu comes into their midst, Peristrophe becomes infected and dies, prompting Kirilow to travel to the city, where the flu is now a pandemic, to find a new starfish who will help save her sisters. There, Kirilow meets Kora, a girl-woman desperate to save her family from the epidemic. Kora has everything Kirilow is looking for, except the will to abandon her own family. But before Kirilow can convince her, both are kidnapped by a mysterious group of men to serve as test subjects for a new technology that can cure the mind of the body.
Bold, beautiful, and wildly imaginative, The Tiger Flu is at once a saga of two women heroes, a cyberpunk thriller, and a convention-breaking cautionary tale -- a striking metaphor for our complicated times.
This novel is a dazzling singularity. Larissa Lai has conjured a future so darkly brilliant and believable, it feels like now, magnified. No other writer could bring us these vital, enduring dreams. There is so much here to marvel at, to savour and to ponder deeply. -Warren Cariou, author of Lake of the Prairies
Larissa Lai's imagination is both scintillating and dark, and somewhere in this intersection lies her genius. Orwell said that writing a dystopian novel, such as 1984, was like surviving a long illness. Reading The Tiger Flu -- Lai's 2145 and onward -- is itself a fever dream, a shivering premonition, a familiar and strange future. This is the sort of fiction we will all need to contract if we are to find a way to live on this side of the point of no return. -Wayde Compton, author of The Outer Harbour
After disease and environmental destruction reorder the world, Larissa Lai's rebel clones and flu-ridden survivors inhabit a future both wildly imaginative and shockingly cruel. Blending the surreal and the entirely possible, The Tiger Flu is majestically compelling. A must-read. -Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster