I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Vox by Christina Dalcher
Published by HQ on 23rd August 2018
Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial--this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.
This is just the beginning.
Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.
But this is not the end.
For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.
A Wee Summary of Vox
Vox is set in a dystopian US where, post-election, a new President and his associates take control of the lives of US women – no working, no reading, no writing, no birth control and a limit of 100 spoken words a day. Every female is fitted with a counter around their wrist – exceed the 100 word limit in a 24 hour period and the counter shocks them. The further the 100 words is exceeded, the more intense the shock.
In line with the “Pure Movement”, the government are restricting the lives of women, effectively reverting the US to a previous time where the role of the female was to make the home, care for the family and be dominated and controlled by the men in their lives.
With schools introducing a new curriculum, boys studying such subjects as AP Religious Studies, and the girls focussed on home economics and crafts, the purpose of the Government and Pure Movement is clear – a patriarchal society.
Jean holds a doctorate. Before ‘it’ happened, she was working in neurolinguistics on an anti-aphasia serum, verging on a breakthrough that would make a high difference to many lives. Now, she and her 6-year-old daughter are restricted to 100 words a day, constantly under monitoring, while the males in the house are free. Her sole purpose is now to look after her family and home, all the while silently witnessing her oldest son’s conversion to the Pure Movement.
That is until there comes a time when the President needs her expertise, and she’s temporarily given back her voice, if not her freedom.
I have tried many times to get my thoughts on Vox down in some kind of coherent manner. The majority of which ended up in a rant about the world today, so I’m going to try to rein that in!
To be honest, this book is pretty terrifying. It made me so angry, the thought of a world where our voices and freedom are stolen – but what’s more terrifying is that it has a very real feel to it! A few years ago a book like this would have seemed total science fiction to me; now though, it feels scarily possible.
I actually couldn’t put this book down – it’s the fastest I’ve read a book in a while. This is Christina Dalcher’s debut novel and what a debut it is! Dalcher herself is a doctor of theoretical linguistics, so her exploration of the consequences of removing language in Vox is all the more fascinating. Through Jean’s 6-year-old daughter, we see the impact of the 100 words on younger children and the potential damage to future generations.
This novel is cleverly written and incredibly memorable. The writing is engaging, and Jean’s character is an interesting one through which we explore the changing face of the US, the wider impact on the country, but also the effects on individual families. It’s a story that as well as providing food for thought, also has twists and turns, with moments where I actually held my breath while reading.
I will say though that I felt the ending of the book was a bit rushed. I could tell that I didn’t have many pages left for the conclusion to pan out, and personally, I would have liked a few more pages in that ending.
For me, I found the thought of losing my voice so deeply uncomfortable, and the way that the Pure Movement suddenly took control pretty terrifying. For me, this is a fascinating exploration of language, as well as an unsettling dystopian novel. It’s a book that is bound to generate a lot of discussion, and attract very different opinions.
Please read it so we can discuss it! I need someone to talk to about this book!