Thursday, March 18, 2010

a past life doesn't mean a good one...

the returners, gemma malley

this stand-alone title from the author of the brilliant the declaraction and the resistance (and apparently a third title soon?!?) is a creepy, excellently written and moving story set in england's near-future. england has suffered (as has the rest of the world) of the 2009 global financial crash. times are tight and people have become fierce. a general climate of fear and xenophobia envelopes the people and there is strong support for a conservative government.

will hodge is our adolescent protagonist whose father is angry at new immigrants to england, feels that they have no right to take the few available jobs (and god forbid that they succeed in business!). will feels like he has to support his dad; even if deep down he has questions.

but will has other things on his mind. people are watching him, looking at him, following him. sometimes he can't catch them at it, he has no idea who they are and he doesn't have anyone to talk to about it. and then there are the dreams - at night, but even during the day. what are these scenes of war, of torture, that appear to him and seem so real?

like her other books before, malley creates brilliant characters - i identify with them, empathise, they appear so real. and theme-wise, this is sophisticated stuff. i found myself going back and rereading it just to make sure i was up to speed. the idea of good and evil and of the possibility of predestination with regards to a person's really gets me. makes me want to rewatch two hands, that great australian film (with the best bank robbery scene!). this book is also about choice - do we all have the ability to choose our path?

2 comments:

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