- ISBN: 0316434817
- ISBN: 9780316434812
- Physical Description: 356 pages ; 22 cm
- Edition: First edition.
- Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2018.
- Top Holds Over Last 5 Years: 2 / 5.0
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Publishers Weekly Review
Red Clocks : A Novel
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Zumas (The Listeners) imagines a palpable, powerful alternate reality in which the United States has passed the Personhood amendment, reversing Roe v. Wade and making abortion a crime. Four women whose futures changed overnight with the passage of the amendment struggle for equality in rural Oregon. Roberta Stephens has chosen to pursue a teaching career and faces an uphill battle to have a child in an oppressively gendered system while writing a biography of an obscure female polar explorer named Eivor Minervudottir. Roberta's star pupil is high school student Mattie Quarles, who, finding herself pregnant, makes a run for the Canadian border. Susan Korsmo, the wife of one of Roberta's colleagues, is quietly suffocating as an overburdened mother of two. Finally there is Gin Percival, a forest-dwelling "mender" providing illegal gynecological services until she is arrested for medical malpractice. As Gin's court proceedings devolve into a modern-day witch trial, the fates of these women converge-with parallels to the life of Eivor-as they are pushed into a series of bold challenges to the masculine power structures that stifle them. Zumas manages a loose yet consistently engaging tone as she illustrates the extent to which the self-image of modern women is shaped by marriage, career, or motherhood. Dark humor further enhances the novel, making this a thoroughly affecting and memorable political parable. (Jan.) Â© Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Red Clocks : A Novel
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Imagine a world in which Roe v. Wade has been overturned, and you have the premise of Zumas' shattering new novel in which abortion seekers are charged with conspiracy to commit murder, and abortion providers with second-degree murder. The novel introduces four women whose interconnected lives are negatively impacted by the new law. There is Ro, an unmarried high-school teacher desperate to be a mother before a law forbidding single people to adopt goes into effect; her 15-year-old student Mattie, who is pregnant and equally desperate, but for an abortion; Gin, an herbalist, regarded locally as a witch, whose herbs are believed to have the power to terminate pregnancy; and Susan, who, with two children, is trapped in a loveless marriage but feels herself too weak to end it. With its strong point of view, the novel, in lesser hands, might have been reduced to agitprop, but Zumas has raised it, instead, to the level of literature, which readers will find deeply moving. The characters are beautifully realized, inviting empathy and understanding; the richly realized plot is compulsively readable, and the theme, with its echoes of Margaret Atwood, is never didactic but invites thought and discussion. The result is powerful and timely.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2017 Booklist
Library Journal Review
Red Clocks : A Novel
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Zumas's far too timely novel, based on actual suggestions made by politicians, considers an America where abortion is a crime, single women are no longer allowed to adopt, and IVF (in vitro fertilization) is illegal because fertilized eggs are unable to consent to being moved from a medical facility to a uterus. Four central characters are identified mainly by their roles: the Biographer, the Daughter, the Mender, and the Wife. Ro, the Biographer, is single. She has exhausted all of her attempts to conceive, and time is ticking on the likelihood of adoption. Her student Mattie, the Daughter, has sex once and finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy that will ruin her plans for a scholarly future. The Mender, Gin, is a healer of women in need who comes to the attention of men in power and faces a literal witch hunt. The Wife, Susan, is so unfulfilled by her life as wife and mother that she frequently fantasizes about driving herself and her children off a cliff. Their stories inter-twine in many ways, with the women often jealous of one another or being their own worst critics. The matter-of-fact storytelling style makes the grim realities of each woman's existence even more tragic, with their lack of choice disabling in every way. Narrators Karissa Vacker and Erin Bennett have very similar voices, and it can be difficult to differentiate between them. However, their implacable tones and unemotional narration add to the inevitability of the events. While the content is difficult to listen to, this production is riveting and all too relevant. VERDICT Highly recommended for all collections. ["Inevitably, there will be comparisons to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, but Zumas's work is not nearly as dystopic or futuristic, only serving to make it that much more believable": LJ 10/15/17 starred review of the Little, Brown hc.]-B. Allison Gray, Goleta P.L., CA Â© Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.