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Summary

Five women. One question: what is a woman for?

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in vitro fertilisation is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers.

Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro's best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath, or 'mender', who brings all their fates together when she's arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.

Red Clocks is at once a riveting drama whose mysteries unfold with magnetic energy and a shattering novel of ideas. In the vein of Margaret Atwood and Eileen Myles, Leni Zumas fearlessly explores the contours of female experience, evoking The Handmaid's Tale for a new millennium. This is a story of resilience, transformation and hope in tumultuous - even frightening - times.

©2018 Leni Zumas (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Lyrical and beautifully observed... highly absorbing." (Naomi Alderman, author of The Power)

"Leni Zumas here proves she can do almost anything... Red Clocks is funny, mordant, baroque, political, poetic, alarming, and inspiring - not to mention a way forward for fiction now." (Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts)

"Strange and lovely and luminous. I loved Red Clocks with my whole heart." (Kelly Link, author of Pretty Monsters)

What listeners say about Red Clocks

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    5 out of 5 stars
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harrowing prescient dystopia

Excellent narrator and a wonderfully complex novel. Very well realised characters and challenges. A scarily prophetic premise in light of 2018 US political discourse.

4 people found this helpful

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Dystopia Turned Reality

💛 This is dreamy and beautiful yet somehow also funny and snarky. Zumas’s writing is a character in itself; playfully poetic and full of unusual metaphors.

❤️️ The five women (one a girl) we follow each face different challenges as a result of living in an America where abortion is illegal. Because this is a dystopia. It is speculative. It couldn’t possibly hap… Forget I said anything.

💚 Some characters are likable, some I loved to hate, but they were all fascinating and believable. And the plot is one of those where all comes full circle in a smart, satisfying way.

PS I hope my zombie books don’t start hopping on the life imitating art bandwagon…
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SOUNDBITE

🎧 The performances are purposefully dreamy and pensive. For the more serious parts, this matches the tone of the book. And it’s pointedly incongruous with the comic aspects, somehow making them funner. Loved these narrators,

🎧 You need to focus on this to get the nuances of the story, Having said that, I felt lost at times, but managed to get back on track without needing to go back and relisten.
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SHALL I COMPARE THEE TO...

This reminds me in so many ways of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. That's post apocalyptic to this (ahem) dystopia, but both are written in a poetic prose.

1 person found this helpful