Vox, Christina Dalcher

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Summary from publisher:

Silence can be deafening.

Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins. Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you're a woman.

Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.

For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…

Book Review

Dr. Jean McClellan is a scientist called in from forced retirement to assist the government with a special project.  Jean is also the mother of two sons, and one precious daughter.  Not being able to write or speak does not mean that her mind will be silenced.

It's hard to decide what is more disturbing about the (re)emergence of oppression fiction; the content itself or the speed at which we come to accept that such events might be only a few revolutions in government away.  The new ‘horror’ is in acknowledging what is happening in the world today, in our supposedly advanced age. We’ve come so far, but so far in aid of whom exactly?

VOX terrifies through the subtle menace that is gradual change, incrementally reducing the size of a woman’s world and the freedom she has to move within it until she, like her sisters, is a prisoner within what was once at least familiar, if not entirely safe. The author’s economical writing style is put to good use, giving the reader enough scope to project themselves into the world of VOX that shadows all too closely our own.  It doesn’t need to finitely detail what it has always meant to be female, regardless of the era in which the gender identity is experienced.

American author Christina Dalcher has delivered a timely novel of what it is that drives us when everything that defines or has value is taken away.   Societal constraints are taken to the next level, relationships are tested, true natures are revealed.  VOX is truly chilling in so many different ways, and any sane human being would want to rise and object to such atrocities being inflicted upon half of its world population. Or so you would think.  It’s this suggested uncertainty that is the most unsettling.

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