The Undesirables

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Mark Grimal is a middle-level bureaucrat responsible for composing speeches for the three benevolent despots who rule the world in the year 2120. Grimal lives in relative comfort with a woman he no longer respects while pursing a vocation he views as essentially irrelevant. Grimal is not a monster, indeed he is living proof that evil normally wears a banal face. If asked, he would deny any fiendish inclinations. He would be amazed if accused of being unkind, let alone uncharitable, insensitive, callous, and thoroughly amoral.

But, circumstances conspire to require Grimal to become, however reluctantly, the father of a revolution. Perhaps, if he had not taken Christie Riccardi as a lover nothing would have happened. Christie was, at the beginning, little more than another target of opportunity in a long line of sexual conquests. That, however, soon changed and as it did Grimal became aware of how the underside of his society lived. More importantly, he found himself questioning everything he previously accepted without challenge. One thing leads to another, and Grimal examines the ethical and philosophical foundations of his very existence. Soon, he is not only conspiring to circumvent the system, but actively participating in a fundamental re-ordering of the socio-political order. Grimal’s act of rebellion succeeds all too well. Much to his surprise, and ultimate chagrin, his comfortable world would never be the same.

THE UNDESIRABLES is, in the method of its construction and its central theme, a mainstream novel within that literary genre which began with the publication of Thomas More’s UTOPIA. THE UNDESIRABLES also borrows heavily from A BRAVE NEW WORLD and other equally pessimistic works. Yet, Mary C. Smith does more than rework tired cliches or recycle familiar plot lines. THE UNDESIRABLES is a work worthy of consideration in its own right.