Metropolis: A Novel
The Metropolis storage unit has a lot going on behind its closed metal doors. Zach, the owner, is trying to put an illicit past behind him and keep Metropolis running above board. Meanwhile, Rose, the office manager, takes secret payments from renters in exchange for letting them actually live in the units. These live-in renters live in their storage units for various reasons: Jason, a lawyer, is establishing a private practice after an unceremonious firing; Liddy is plotting an escape from her abusive husband, Garrett; Serge is happiest being surrounded by his photographic equipment and film, and Marta is hiding from ICE and trying to finish her Ph.D. When a terrible accident draws police attention to Metropolis, everyone pays a steep price–not realizing that the key to their future might just be hidden in Metropolis itself.
Shapiro rotates the narrative among many points of view but keeps the action mostly contained to the secret world of the storage units, which creates an unusually rich portrait of a place most people never see. The question of what these characters save, collect, and preserve in their units gives way to larger questions of what they value, and how they hope to live–if they can successfully navigate a path to freedom that winds through metal doors and cardboard boxes.
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