"Babylon" is not a ‘story’ about a guy who goes through some ‘conflicts’ and Learns About Life. Instead, it’s an intense description of a young man with schizophrenia who returns to his partially burned down Texan hometown and lives there until he can live there no more. It’s written with beauty and economy, and it captures a mindstate and an environment perfectly.Babylon is a fantastic example of a kind of Zola-esque empirical fiction: a kind of simulation. A completely realized character enters a bizarre but credible environment and threatens to throw it out of stasis. The intruder must be dealt with, like a virus. It’s a very bold story telling technique, and it is accomplished with enormous style. Gree also pulls off the difficult feat of portraying an increasingly hallucinatory and numbed lead character without alienating the reader. His rituals and the imprint he makes on the town define him, even as he seems to withdraw further from his own life.It’s a weird pleasure to sightsee a crippled world while a man slowly dies in it, but it is an unforgettable pleasure all the same. And I didn’t even mention how funny it is at times. You’ll see.