Hello friends! Today is Friday and I hope you have amazing reading plans for the weekend 🙂 I just read this gorgeous book, I mean come on, look at this cover! And inside, it’s interesting too.
Joyce Carol Oates came back with a dystopian novel with a young female lead, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a YA book as some people mention in their reviews. But, she definitely jumped on the bandwagon of ‘feminist dystopian fiction’, which is quite poplar these days.
The story is taking place in a dystopian future with our lead Adriane Strohl, who’s selected to make a valedictorian speech when she’s graduating from high school. The time actually is not so far away, it’s only a few years after the 9/11 attacks, but a lot has changed. Now, there’s a totalitarian regime with a territory that includes Mexico and Canada. (Trump’s name is never mentioned, but there’s certainly referral.) In this country now, there’s no freedom of speech. Everything is controlled by government. People are divided into racial categories. Our protagonist, being intelligent, asks some questions she shouldn’t have asked in her speech, and ends up being exiled on the spot. And here the time travel comes into the picture. She’s exiled to the past to year 1959, with a new identity, where there’s no internet, no technologies of the present. She’s terrified of not being able to go back when her exile period ends (4 years), and so her struggle begins. On top, she falls in love with one of her instructors.
This book as you can imagine is rich with politics, human psychology, today’s problems, etc. I found it a very satisfactory read, and at the same time thought provoking. I liked the fact that the lead was young, so that we could look into the world from a person’s perspective whose life is ahead of her, but with a very oppressive government. There are lots of issues covered like freedom of speech, where is the society leading towards, discrimination, technology’s place in our lives…It’s no coincidence Adriane goes back to the past where there’s not the technological advances we enjoy today. It was really interesting to read how she had to deal with ‘paper’, ‘no internet’, ‘no mobile phones’, etc. Her inner mind was displayed so well when she was exiled only as a teenager not even without seeing her parents again. Her fear, coping mechanism, survival methods were amazing to read.
This is not a dystopian book as we know, like a whole new world is built with its systems. This is just a few years ahead to show us all the craziness going on in the world with a fictional exaggeration of course. It feels like an onion, whose layers are peeled one by one. As you read, there are more issues raised about where society is heading towards with the current political picture in America today. However, by no means the book is serious. It’s very playful and almost feels like Oates is teasing with her writing. That’s why I loved this book and Oates’ take on how she portrayed these issues.
I would definitely recommend this book if you’re already an Oates fan, or it might be a good place to start.
Thanks so much to 4th Estate Books for sending me this gorgeous copy in exchange for an honest review.
Thanks for stopping by to you! Let me know if you read this book or planning to:) And happy reading!