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Vox

by Christina Dalcher

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,0709014,399 (3.61)42
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her. This is just the beginning. Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard. For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.… (more)
  1. 30
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (vwinsloe)
  2. 10
    Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin (2wonderY)
    2wonderY: Women's right have been removed. They develop a private language. This is a minor classic.
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» See also 42 mentions

English (88)  Piratical (1)  German (1)  All languages (90)
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
This book is very similar to "The Handmaid's Tale", but is much better for me. The author created a very realistic atmosphere if those events. The story is very tense. I liked the main heroine but I was sorry about her husband. The most interesting character for me was Steven, her son. The author showed how easy it is to distort our children's views and how easy this distortion becomes something normal for them.

( )
  Diana_Hryniuk | Aug 28, 2021 |
Very scary but interesting concept for a dystopian book, but I feel story line was underdeveloped, I would have loved to have read more about the Society was. I did not feel connected to the characters except for Jean. This book should have been at least 700 pages long to fully develop the story ( )
  Islandmum84 | Jul 28, 2021 |
I hated this book. It was trying much too hard to be a contemporary Handmaid's Tale, and it failed. I was hating it 50 pages in, and finished it out of rage and spite. I'm only glad I did because the ending was so bad that it justified every ounce of anger.

Spoilers abound from here on, because I do not care.

Let me say, right off, that I am a Northern, non-Christian feminist, so I am not offended by Christian villains. I am offended by cardboard cutout cartoon super-villainy that, if I called it subtle as a sledgehammer, would be an insult to sledgehammers. The central conceit of the novel is that, at an unspecified time not entirely unlike our own, religious zealots have taken over the US. Their means of controlling women? Literally taking away our voice. Women and girls are forbidden to read or write, or to speak more than 100 words a day. A wrist counter monitors their speech and delivers increasingly strong levels of electric shocks when the limit is exceeded.

Apparently, the whole thing sneaked up on the US while it slept. Women just gradually stopped being elected to government, and then BOOM! Religion creeps up from the horrible South and takes over with enforced purity. On with the wrist bracelets and being fired from work. Here is where I'll compare it unfavorably to The Handmaid's Tale: as improbable as that scenario seemed, Atwood realistically portrayed it as a mess, with a coup and a civil war. Here, an elected government just uses its own powers, storming over the "resistance" (Familiar?) and... that's it. There are camps, of course, and arrests, but mostly, life goes on. Kids go to school, except now the girls only learn to count. (The ways in which literacy impact housework always seem to be ignored in these books.) This couldn't possibly be a heavy handed allusion to our current state, of course.

The main character, Jean, is a language researcher now stuck at home. Her husband is a science adviser to the new government. I enjoy unsympathetic characters, but the McClellans tend towards the whiny, the type you want to punch in the face. Prior to the wrist bracelets, their insufferable son Steven starts picking up misogyny in school. Instead of cutting it off at the knees, Jean and Patrick let it go, till later Steven is the obvious Hitler Youth of the family, warning them that soon nonverbal communication would be monitored. The characters do, at least, smarten up some in the middle part of the book.

The implications of taking away language from women and girls, long term, don't seem to be fully realized. The relationship between Jean and her young daughter Sonia is correctly portrayed as suffering, but (especially for a novel written by a linguist) the long term effects of depriving women not just of a voice, but of language and nonverbal communication, don't seem to have been considered much.

Anyway, miracles! Jean is needed to do special research for the government and gets her bracelet taken off--and bargains to get Sonia's taken off too. Now we see some resistance to tyranny, as represented by an impossibly assholish minister and the aforementioned smarmy son. Surprise! the research isn't entirely what it pretends to be (I worked out the secret plan before it was revealed. Research works improbably fast, even when aided by the secret that Jean had mostly cracked it before being fired. As a novel, this part works the best; there's plot and character development, and it moves briskly and is written well.

And what happens? A man saves the whole fucking thing in a noble act of self sacrifice. Jean swans off to Italy with the kids and her Italian lovah. Apparently the US wakes up after they're gone, and I guess we're all just sheeple who easily fall in and out of a spell, but who really cares? I wish I were making up this ending.

All told, I just couldn't achieve the suspension of disbelief necessary. I get where Dalcher was coming from, but it never really gelled for me and there were too many convenient developments (OF COURSE her mailman is a secret resister, et cetera. I get why these things have to be to make the plot work, but the McClellans are just the perfect nexus of every component.) ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
Read it in 3 days. You have to suspend a bit of reality (but not that much) to get into the story line. But, stranger things have happened. Not far from what could happen if a fringe element gets in power. Well written. ( )
  SusanWallace | Jul 10, 2021 |
I can’t say that I totally loved this book but I didn’t hate it either. It definitely had some aspects of the other dystopian novels out there now, but I enjoyed the few unique ideas. Imagining a world such as the one in this book is a bit scary, especially as women.
That said, I read for enjoyment and if I learn something along the way even better. I’ve read a lot of controversial reviews about this book. I try to take it for what it is and not read too much into a fictional novel. As with everything we’re all entitled to our own opinions. ( )
  purple_pisces22 | Mar 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
Subtlety is not a concern here, and the theme of “wake up!” is hammered home so vigorously that it can feel hectoring. “Not your fault,” a man says to Jean. “But it is,” she thinks. “My fault started two decades ago, the first time I didn’t vote … was too busy to go on [a march].” It’s of a piece with the preposterous setup, the payoff-heavy writing and the casual appropriation of some of humanity’s most heinous instruments of oppression – labour camps, electrified restraints – in the service of a thriller. If Dalcher wants to scare people into waking up, she would do better to send them back to the history books, rather than forward into an overblown, hastily imagined future.
 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dalcher, Christinaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Whelan, JuliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In memory of Charlie Jones linguist, professor, friend.
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If anyone told me I could bring down the president, and the Pure Movement, and that incompetent little shit Morgan LeBron in a week’s time, I wouldn’t believe them.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her. This is just the beginning. Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard. For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

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