Christine is a 21-year-old girl who has lived in Safetown all her life with her parents and brother. She begins to question why they are continually under surveillance, and why all the servants have dark skin, whilst the privileged residents are pale-skinned. She is exiled after she is caught kissing one of the servants, and begins a journey through the neighbouring wasteland, through a forest, more towns until she takes a train to the place she was told would be safe.
It seems to me that the author has written this story expressly to highlight the themes of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and social inequalty. The writing is neither subtle nor emotive, with 2-dimensional characters seemingly inserted to fit the themes. The Guardian also comments on the characters and adds that “A dissociated narrator can get monotonous, even in third-person, even with increasingly frequent, and jarringly fervent, epiphanies”. However, The Guardian says that “Coleman builds a satisfyingly suspenseful atmosphere, and the twists are part of the political punch as well as the overall experience.” The Conversation believes that it is “a novel that inclines towards hope. It touches on many of the issues of our own world.”
“These are troubling times. The world is a dangerous place.”
“There were Security everywhere in the street outside her house, their lights strobing blindingly off the neighbouring houses that appeared to be crowding around her like flies around a corpse.”
“Nobody looked poor, nobody looked angry or sad or lost, faces held a lightness she had never seen before; she didn’t know how to read it.”
Author: Clair G Coleman