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Molly Zero by Keith Roberts
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Molly Zero (1980)

by Keith Roberts

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612194,696 (3.83)4

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I actually haven't read this one for years, and am going to pick up my copy at the weekend, so I might read it again and update my rating based on that.
It's notable in that it's probably the only second-person present tense novel I've read, certainly the only one I've read all the way through without getting annoyed. Excluding Fighting Fantasy etc, of course.
Mostly what this means is that it's one of those books that's hard to get into. It takes a few pages before it feels like a book and not just someone's experiment, and that means if you go have lunch and come back to it a few hours later, well, you just have to go through the few pages of everything feeling clumsy again.
It's very authoritative. An author might engage you by using a suggesive phrase like "Thrust your hands into your pockets to keep them warm", but Roberts would write something more like, "You thrust your hands into your pockets. You need to keep them warm". Molly has to undergo tests early on in the story. Or rather, you do. "You" make your choices like which button to press or which colour to choose, and you provide the reasoning behind it. You think it through, and you're told how Molly thinks it through, and wanting to make a different choice makes it a little uncomfortable sometimes.

I haven't touched on the plot. It's generic dystopian SF future with lots of running-away and hiding and things not being what they seem. It's less important than it seems; the main enjoyment I got out of this book was feeling like I got to know the character intimately, through a very unusual style. ( )
  moopet | Jul 25, 2015 |
Picaresque tale of a girl growing up in a future England.
  Fledgist | Mar 31, 2010 |
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