BookBrowse Reviews Want Not by Jonathan Miles

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Want Not

by Jonathan Miles

Want Not
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2013, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2014, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster

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Want Not is a timely story of environmental threat and human interconnection.

"Waste not, want not" goes the aphorism, and Jonathan Miles's second novel explores both themes to their fullest extent: the concept of waste – from lives spent profligately to garbage and excrement – and ordinary people's conflicting desires. In three interlocking story lines, Miles looks for what is really of human value at a time when everything seems disposable and possessions both material and digital can exert a dispiriting tyranny.

As the novel opens in 2007, Thanksgiving finds New York City buried under an early snowstorm. The nation's annual excuse for gluttony makes a perfect metaphorical setting for Miles's exposé of food waste and consumerist excess. Even this time of feasting has a dark side, with Talmadge Bertrand, the first of three main characters, rummaging in trash bags outside Key Foods for edible pastries and produce. This scrounging lifestyle might ...

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