In this stunning novel, Sarah Hall imagines a new dystopia set in the not-too-distant future. England is in a state of environmental crisis and economic collapse. There has been a census, and all citizens have been herded into urban centers. Reproduction has become a lottery, with contraceptive coils fitted to every female of childbearing age. A girl who will become known only as "Sister" escapes the confines of her repressive marriage to find an isolated group of women living as "un-officials" in Carhullan, a remote northern farm, where she must find out whether she has it in herself to become a rebel fighter. Provocative and timely, Daughters of the North poses questions about the lengths women will go to resist their oppressors, and under what circumstances might an ordinary person become a terrorist.Includes an excerpt from Sarah Hall's new book The Beautiful Indifference.
Chronicling a journey of violence, oppression and fleeting liberation, this brutal third novel from the author of The Electric Michelangelo is a timely feminist commentary on war, gender, politics and identity. Set in a dystopian near-future northern U.K. where global warming, a fuel crisis, drug epidemics and a cruel totalitarian regime known as the Authority have savaged the land and people, the story is told by Sister, a young woman living in cramped terrace quarters. Sterilized against her will (the result of the Authority's female sterilization policy) and forced to work in a "New Fuel" factory, Sister escapes to seek out Carhullan, a shadowy all-female commune run by the enigmatic Jackie Nixon. Carhullan is a hard-knocks utopia, in which women's strengths and passions grow from manual labor, paramilitary training and intense, sometimes sexual, friendships. As the threat of the Authority grows, Sister rises in the ranks of the Carhullan resistance force, oblivious to the increasing similarities between the Authority and Jackie's seductive, psychological control. Though the climax and denouement are sloppily handled, the overall effect is haunting, timely and well wrought. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . Compelling nested narrative of an all-too-plausible future
Posted May 05, 2008 by Irfon-Kim Ahmad , Toronto, Ontario, CanadaI picked this up after it won the 2008 Tiptree award, and it proved itself well worthy of the recognition.
I found this book a truly compelling read, both in micro (the personal journey of the focal character to struggle with the life she found herself living and forge something new, and stronger from the broken shards of the person she once was) and in macro (the comingled acquiescence and struggle of a people largely swept along by rapid changes in a post-peak-oil world. The focus between these two elements is just right, the character and the drama both unfold in a very genuine way and come together with tremendous power.
March 30, 2008
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