Miles Klee’s intense debut, “Ivyland” (OR Books, 262 pages, $16), starts where “Arcadia” leaves off. At some point in the near future, the threat of a viral pandemic has led Americans to submit to a bizarre surgical procedure said to immunize them. But the procedure has grotesque side effects, and the corporation that provides it has become the country’s de facto governing body. Drug use and crime are rampant, and infrastructure is collapsing—even the Statue of Liberty has begun to slump over.

In jagged, non-chronological chapters, Mr. Klee follows a group of boys from a New Jersey suburb called Ivyland (likely meant to evoke Princeton). Their exploits play out alongside harbingers of End Times: anarchic violence, insect plagues and messianic cults.

Mr. Klee depicts the chaos with verve—he reads like J.G. Ballard zapped with a thousand volts of electricity. One drug trip yields a Book of Ezekiel-inspired doomsday vision of “Zeros spinning in the sky. Wheels, gears, interlocking in pairs and pairs of pairs, scrolling mosaics, transparent geometries brushing vision.” For all the flash, though, Mr. Klee is attuned to the individual behavior of his characters, who either try to preserve some measure of common kindness or speed the decline through amorality and solipsism.

Read the full review in The Wall Street Journal