The Kitchens of Canton. A novel

The Kitchens of Canton cover art

Jeff Malmquist is unaccountably catapulted to the year 2060. He finds himself in New Gary, Indiana, a labor camp of one million Chicagoans, their identities hacked and incriminated as pedophiles through the collusion of a corrupt US Government, the Russian cybermafia, and China. He escapes to Chicago, only to find himself in a full-scale replica of Ancient Rome in China, erected for the wealthy country’s amusement and manned by a million enslaved Italians. As he struggles to orient himself in these synchronized urban labyrinths, he is plunged back to real Ancient Rome, before being flung yet further into the future: It’s 2115 and the Chinese Empire rules the world. The former Western hemisphere is now the American Special Administrative Region, a vast Cantonese-speaking slave colony. Malmquist will soon be shipped to the most opulent city the world has ever known for an unspeakable fate.

A dystopian satire both bleak and funny, The Kitchens of Canton distills the worst of our present and future societies into a strangely seductive maze of a story.

“Kitchens is a 242-page mindfuck induced most likely by a combination of LSD, gender-fluid sexual experimentation and unbridled brilliance.” — Tom Carter, Unsavory Elements

“A wildly amusing and satirical premise sets the stage for a frenetic tale of time traveling and cross-cultural confusion.” — Chris Taylor, author of Harvest Season

“A dizzying, whirlwind tour across language, space and time…The Kitchens of Canton presents an eerie, if not implicative, vision of society’s future.” — Quincy Carroll, Up to the Mountain and Down to the Countryside

“A picture forms of Isham Cook after reading even just two or three sentences from any of his books. He delights in the excessive, the sensuous and the extravagant.” — Arthur Meursault, author of Party Members

“An insightful, unconventional, and risqué view of present-day culture.” — Kirkus Reviews

Goodreads reviews:

“The plot is beautifully conceived, and so well-written, which is probably not the easiest thing to with a non-linear timeline….So baffling, yet so oddly engaging.”

“A provocative comedy of errors, with hints of Hunter S. Thompson and Kurt Vonnegut running through it, this is a mind-bending story that must certainly resemble an acid trip….Entertaining with a cutting edge, this book is wildly different and not to be missed.”

“A comedy of errors as the hero and his acquired companions skip temporally and spatially around the world….wearing tunics that serve as two way radios as well as transporters….Patience and a spread sheet will reward one with a good read.”

“This is one of those difficult books that keep you thinking on the subject long after you’ve gone through all its pages.”

“The story switches its setting often in both time and space, and this is confusing, but in a good way: the reader gets to be confused together with the main character, which makes for an interesting reading experience.”

“Not only is the plot imaginative and exciting, but it is also so thought-provoking, you will have some serious questions about your future….like nothing I have ever read before.”

Amazon reviews:

“Given that the novel has many ingredients that fit the formula for modern cinematic success – sex, guns, drugs, time travel, even magic tunics and a hidden apartment complete with secret doors and naked slaves – I fully expect some studio to scoop up the film rights.”

“The end of the book left me wondering for the sanity of the author (acid flashbacks). Like all great stories though, they’ll never manage to make a movie out of this one!”

“Can I advise you to read this book? It depends on your willingness to let Isham Cook play his mind games with you….makes Fifty Shades of Grey mommy porn look like a Paddington Bear story.”

“This is not an easy book to review without giving away the surprises in store for readers with open minds that are not turned off by casual sex.”

“The book is impossible to put down, with its fine English prose and skillful build-up of tension.” (Amazon UK)

Sample chapters:
Chapter 1: New Gary
Chapter 2: Xinluoma
Chapter 3: Zigaago
Chapter 4: Chicago
Chapter 5: Xinluoma
Chapter 6: Gwongzau

Chapters 7-24: Buy the book

Paperback: Amazon
Ebook: Kindle

More fiction by Isham Cook:
Lust & Philosophy: A novel
The Exact Unknown and Other Tales of Modern China

Essays of related interest by Isham Cook:
Sexual repression in the post-Covid-19 era
Multilingualism and the time travel novel
American fascism: The sexual rage of the state

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