In the future – after the inevitable calamity – women are no longer born, they are bred. Bred to be aesthetically pleasing to the male gaze and as compliant as possible. They are raised together in a school, learning to be approved versions of the ‘perfect’ woman, and when they turn seventeen, they are chosen to be either companions (wives), concubines or chastities (essentially nuns who will raise the next generation of perfect girls). There is no free will, the girls exist entirely to please men and there can be no breaking of these rigid and concrete rules.
Holding a mirror up to rape culture and sexism in our society – and feeling frighteningly pertinent right now – this is an angry, passionate book, which engrosses, provokes and disturbs in equal measure. A dystopian science-fiction which points a sharp and accusing finger at Western culture, so much so that one virtually finds a truism on every page.
I loved it, even as it smacked me hard to the side of the head to make me think. No, because it smacked me hard to the side of the head to make me to think. Rarely have I encountered a novel which I knew, well before I turned the final page, would live so long in my thoughts, dreams and nightmares.
Fancy a free FRJ short story? There’s one available right here.