By Nino Cipri
Genre: Speculative Fiction
QUILTBAG Main Character: Yes
QUILTBAG Minor Character: Yes
Bechdel Test: Yes
Summary: A follow up to Finna. Derek is LitenVärld’s most loyal employee. Every day is an exercise in how to be the very best employee member because, afterall, LitenVärld isn’t just a furniture store, it’s a family. But when a sudden and strange illness forces him to miss his first day of work ever, he returns the next day to discover two of his fellow employees have left the company and this plane of existence. Now, Derek finds himself compelled into a late night special inventory that will leave him questioning absolutely everything about himself, LitenVärld, and his place in the world.
Let’s Get A Little Deep:
Do you ever feel like a book just reaches into your soul? Like you’ve been seen in a deep, intimate way that leaves you breathless? I love books like that. They feel like getting tea with that one friend who calls you out on your bullshit but in a kind and loving way while also reminding you of your worth. Nino Cipri writes these sorts of books, the ones that gently call me out while also railing against capitalism and telling me I’m worthwhile.
Defekt follows Derek, the sort of corporate boot-licker that most of us hate working with because they really buy into the whole “this isn’t a company, it’s a family” tripe. At the beginning of the story, Derek really does believe all that he says. Or at least, he thinks he does. Soon he discovers, however, that things aren’t what he’s thought, and the family that he’s craved could never be found in a corporation that has never valued anything outside the status quo, anything defective. With the help of new friends, he learns that he has value beyond what he is able to do for others, particularly when said others don’t value him beyond his labor.
I am a little ashamed to admit this, but I can relate to Derek. I was never convinced that my job was my family, but I have valued myself on what I can do for others. I have allowed others to value me on what my labor (emotional and physical) can do for them. There is a moment in this book where Derek looks himself in the eyes and says, “You are more than what you can do for others” and when I tell you I was sobbing, I mean I was sobbing like a baby.
There is so much beauty in finding all versions of yourself beautiful, of showing deep empathy for the things about yourself others may dislike, or may see as broken or defective. Cipri holds the reader’s hand, shows them so many possibilities, so many new ways of seeing themselves, and tells them it’s ok. That all of these things, even the ones you don’t like, have worth. Defekt is a lovingly empathetic story about protecting the things society hates, about fighting capitalism, and showing self-care. Basically, it’s the perfect book.
You can now own the complete duology in the LitenVerse which you absolutely should do. I got my copy of Defekt over at The Raven Bookstore which I highly recommend. If not from there, what indie bookstore will you be buying from?
Thanks for going a little deep with me! I post reviews every other Thursday. Did you love Defekt? Leave a comment telling me which Defekt was your favorite. You can also find me on Instagram @booked.with.grace and on Twitter @gwasserst! Special thanks to Yasi (@ynbushehri) for editing my posts.