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Square Wave

2.66  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  23 reviews
"A novel that looks our technocratic, militarized present in the face, "Square Wave" tells the story of a night watchman who discovers weaponized weather modification technologies. It sounds crazy, but in de Silva s hands it all makes perfect (and terrifying) sense.""Flavorwire" "Part mystery, part sci-fi thriller... highly topical for Americans today.""The Millions" "Enti ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published February 9th 2016 by Two Dollar Radio
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Average rating 2.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  91 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
If you are a particular kind of reader, this novel offers an embarrassment of riches. On a sentence by sentence level, it really is flawless; there is not a cliche to be found, it's un-apologetically erudite, and comprised of hyper-attentive and detailed prose. At a macro-level it is quite ambitious, presenting a pastiche of connections/divergences ranging from a not-so-distant future where democracy teeters on a precarious edge, to an account of colonial clashes in 17th century Sri Lanka, to ex ...more
B. Rule
Mar 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
There is a long scene in the middle of this book where many of the main characters get extremely stoned and carry on an interminable, solipsistic parallel monologue conversation that is absurdly articulate, monomaniacally focused on minutiae, and furthers the plot not one whit. This scene is the microcosm, the book the macrocosm.

Clearly de Silva is an intelligent individual; clearly he has deep knowledge of a number of esoteric topics like microtonal music, 90's post-rock, colonialism in Sri La
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
roughly, I would say this book's content is to academic writing what the content/structure of Markson's Wittgenstein's Mistress is to Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it

There is, admittedly, a high entry cost to this novel. It requires the reader to be intellectually engaged in a way that, quite simply, they may not be able to achieve throughout the entire book. In these moments, one has to let it crash over them like the wave of a song and know that they will bob back to the surface again in the next chapter. I was gratified that de Silva didn't lean too heavily on plots that could've been considered predictable, instead keeping this dystopic America in the ba
Anthony Crupi
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was ok

Fuck this shit so hard
for trying to be the most
boring Pynchon book
William Thomas
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
2017 is the year of indies for me. I'm going to devote more time to small presses, and more money. Buying direct from the publisher or label. Helping as I can, throwing change in their coffee cups. Please, give me my Medal of Honor now.

I say this, mostly, because I want you all to do the same thing. No, not all small press books are going to be worth the time and effort and energy. Neither are the big house books. But what I'd like is for you to read a handful, maybe. Get the Random House books
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ambitious and I'd expect nothing less from a novel that travels through two history to show the past is never just past. I felt like de Silva synthesis the historical novel with the detective novel. That's where the comparisons to Mitchell come from, I think. I have to admit Carl Stagg didn't make a great first impression on me, but the narrative expanded so much I really began to love him. Personally, sometimes I'm scared off of books called 'a novel of ideas' but I think the humanity of Carl S ...more
Mar 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Dnf. Beautifully written but I just can't take this level of nihilism right now.
Andrew Higgins
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
I first came to this novel after hearing de Silva interviewed on KCRW's Bookworm podcast and was immediately intrigued. I was already familiar with the publishing house, Two Dollar Radio, which is based in my home state of Ohio, but hadn't heard of this new release.
This is certainly a book of ideas; de Silva's academic background in philosophy shines brightly throughout, and his offerings of political and historical perspective, carefully interwoven with a less-than-often-seen setting in Sri Lan
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is a tough one, I enjoyed the prose so much but literally every other chapter was a diversion for the rest of the chapters. It was just this woven stop-gap, while I love the idea of a soft slow apocalyptic story it just kind of lost steam, even though there would be a chapter with amazing writing and interesting stories it just honestly fell apart. It had a lot going for it, and like other reviewers I was steeped in the music knowledge, however somewhere about a third of the way in de Silva ...more
Jae Choi
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Square Wave brings together a wealth of ideas ranging from political philosophy, music theory, and atmospheric physics in an intelligent and thought-provoking manner. Since I’m not an expert in any of these fields, a lot of things went over my head, but the author gives enough comprehensible details to make the point clear. The novel also provides a visceral glimpse into dark and embarrassing aspects of human cravings in the context of the information age. Good book, but definitely not light rea ...more
Steven Bramble
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
SQUARE WAVE represents, in my own opinion, probably one of the landmarks of early 21st century literature so far. Whether or not de Silva's work will cut through fiction's current myopic megamarket with publication by the incredible but still-small Ten Dollar Radio is a question time will have to bear out.

De Silva's semi-authoritarian American political setting perfectly foresees the pressing philosophical questions of the Trump-era body politic, not to mention the trend of authoritarianism risi
Anders R
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Some books make you feel smarter after reading them. And on the rare occasion, there are books that leave you feeling less informed, more inundated by life's complexities. "Square Wave" is the latter.

I'd try to tell you what it's about...but I don't think that the plot is really the most useful description of this book. "Square Wave" is an interconnected set of storylines meant to evoke feeling. Yes, there is a mystery (in the near future city of Halsley, hookers are turning up beaten on the str
Aug 25, 2016 rated it liked it
"The powder was dark and fine, really a dust. It carried into the light in tobacco wisps as he loaded the chamber, packing it flat with the weight of his body, twisting the tamp before easing the pressure. A featureless surface remained. He locked the handle in place and started the pump. Two honeyed streams oozed from the filter head down to the shallow white cup." - chapter 1, paragraph 1

"With both hands on the stock, and the barrel nearly vertical, Haas lifted the arquebus (baakbus) above his
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
De Silva and De La Pava are near analagous in a lit-debut sense. Both De La Pava's "Naked Singularity" and De Silva's "Square Wave" burst from the ether and dazzle with dense but precise prose - intelligent but not unaccessable. Where "Naked Singularity" could have used an editor in parts and suffered a little from I-want-to-be-like-Ruggles-ism, De Silva with"Square Wave" finds a voice that's informed and unique while drawing on the masters of maximalist fiction.
As mentioned by other reveiwers,
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So an INTP has offered us a novel - a challenging novel- interpellating and rather lyrically interpolating received wisdom from its manufacture on its passage through the atmosphere to Dasein.

Mark de Silva writes passages concerning music with the utmost grace we can expect from a Rational. He has surveyed our present condition with a deeply meditative intensity and offered us oracular convergences in the grey desert. There is a deer lost in the Anthropocene, unsure of which note to follow in th
Sansriti Tripathi
Jun 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Headache inducing prose that reads like a neurotic Ayn Rand crossed with the soap-ish psychology of Jacqueline Susann. Misogynist DeSilva only comes alive in salivating descriptions of women being beaten, tortured, and anally raped. I actually wonder if this is some sort of ISIS propaganda ending as it does


with a brilliant Islamist scientist tricking the US government into launching a nuclear attack on its own soil.
Lindsay Burkhart
Aug 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
Maybe I'm not smart enough to understand this book, but I could only get through the first 20 pages, and with that I struggled. The story itself sounds interesting, however, there seemed to be so much minutiae and soloquial abstract thought, it wasn't enjoyable. A special kind of reader would probably have a field day with this book.
Gary Homewood
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it
An ambitious and original novel of ideas; weaponised weather systems, historiography, micro-tonal music, noir-ish crime and politics in a vaguely dystopian near future, though cliched characters eventually become annoying and plot doesn't quite cohere.
Andrea Haidar
rated it it was ok
Jul 30, 2016
rated it did not like it
Sep 17, 2016
rated it did not like it
Jun 03, 2017
rated it did not like it
Apr 09, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Feb 29, 2016
rated it did not like it
Feb 03, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2016
Steven Felicelli
rated it liked it
Jan 22, 2016
Oliver Bazely
rated it it was amazing
Jan 16, 2018
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