The recent political campaigns in the US (most spectacularly, the Presidential election of 2016) have sparked sales in many classic dystopian novels. One of my favorite books of all time is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, a dystopian novel that has seen a surge in purchases since the election.
It doesn’t hurt that Handmaid’s Tale was also turned into a TV show on Hulu. Elizabeth Moss, the show’s star, has been quoted over and over about the current relevance of the show.
Basically, we are READY for some depressing books about a terrible future, right? I’ve seen a few other dystopian/postapocalyptic books come out (like this, and this, and this), but Red Clocks was the first one that I felt very compelled to read.
The women in Red Clocks are identified not by name, rather by what their primary role is in relation to others. The time is the future, the place is Oregon. Four women’s lives intersect shortly after The Personhood Amendment is passed, and embryos are given rights as a human being. The ripple effect is full force: in-vitro fertilization is made illegal (as an embryo cannot consent to implantation), and abortion is equated with murder. Adoption, too, falls down the slippery political slope, and only two-person households may adopt.
It’s kind of an intense read, and for me it was quite challenging to get through the first half. However, once I got through it, it was well-worth the struggle. I really enjoyed reading about the different characters. Their histories are not spelled out at first, almost like you have to “earn” their trust to learn more about them (like you would a with any stranger). It’s for this reason that I don’t want to give away too much information about the individual characters themselves.
Red Clocks reminded me a great deal of Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, another complex and timely book. I recommend it for those who don’t mind a cerebral read that will make them think twice about the complexity of personhood and womanhood.
Read more here on Goodreads.
Thank you to NetGalley and Little Brown Publishing for allowing me a chance to read an e-galley! All opinions are my own.