Rapp, Adam The Copper Elephant

ISBN 13: 9780064472616

The Copper Elephant

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9780064472616: The Copper Elephant

In a nightmarish, post-apocalyptic world, most Undertwelves are sent down to the Pits to bust rocks, where they die of disease and exhaustion, or are killed by dogs, trying to escape.

Whensday has been saved from this fate. She must live in hiding, but if she can dodge burning rain, avoid brutish soldiers, and keep from starving, perhaps she'll survive. She must bond together with other fugitives and refugees to form some kind of family -- and somehow save herself.

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Review:

Picture this: a world where the acid rain is a constant downpour, where you can't go outside without smearing "safe jam" on your exposed skin, where militaristic brutes storm from dwelling to dwelling demanding paper clips, nails, and anything else the Syndicate deems essential. Welcome to the Shelf, Adam Rapp's disturbing and lasting vision of a post-apocalyptic earth. We don't know exactly how it got this bad, or when, but we do know that no one talks about birthdays or Christmas anymore.

On the Shelf, the miserable are corralled together to meet their fates. Elders are taken away in the Flying Fox and never seen again. The Undertwelves are tattooed with numbers and marched off to the Pits--a worse circle of this inferno, where these Digit Kids are forced to break rocks with splittingpicks until they fall down dead. Thanks to the brave kindness of a coffin builder, 11-year-old Whensday has managed to escape the Pits. She takes refuge for a time helping Tick Burrowman build his bodyboxes, but when she fears he's going to sell her, she runs away to the Bone Trees. There she meets Honeycut and Oakley, two other children who have eluded the Pits, and the three make an effort at raw survival.

Whensday tells this gripping, memorable story with the frankness of a child and in a dialect that reflects the brutal reality of the new world order. In such a place there is no time for proper grammar, and words must be invented for each fresh hell (homes are now mere "life holes," the primary food is "cornslop," and coughed up phlegm is "lungpuddles"). But somehow, amid the horror, Rapp manages to weave impressive beauty and hope. Whensday is a character to fall in love with and root for, who understands "Strength don't always come from muscles and size. Sometimes it comes from that stuff that hides in your spit." Most of all, she helps us appreciate the small things: a bird's nest, a spoon, an elephant made of foil. --Brangien Davis

About the Author:

Adam Rapp is a playwright as well as a novelist. His work has been produced and developed by the New York Theatre Workshop, the Steppenwolf Theater Company, New York City's Public Theatre, and The Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. Mr. Rapp lives in New York City. The Buffalo Tree is his second novel.

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