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Divided Kingdom

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  642 ratings  ·  75 reviews
When an eight year-old boy is removed from his home in the middle of the night, he soon learns that he is the victim of an extraordinary political experiment. This story is a vision of the future, as well as being a satire and tale of love and metaphysical happenings.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 3rd 2006 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,202)
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Rafi Bloch
In the future, the UK is divided up into sections depending on one's personality traits. The main character, Thomas is kidnapped at age 8 and is forced to live with a new family. He has no memory of his former life. The four quarters of England are based on the four humors. The red quarter is for sanguine people (blood), and is opptimistic and goal oriented. The yellow quarter, choleric (yellow bile) is for violent and angry people. The green quarter, melancholic (black bile) is for depressed an ...more
Neula
In Rupert Thomson's dystopia Britain's populace have been divided into quarters according to their temperaments according to the hippocratic theory of the four humours. All people are classified as either Sanguine, Melancholic, Choleric or Phlegmatic and are sent to live within the corresponding zone.

A strange and brilliant story told with the post-war feel of apocalyptical sci-fi master John Wyndham, which addresses how we live in the world, how we stereotype, identify and either amplify or de
...more
Cassady Maddox
Dystopian literature has always appealed to me, for whatever reason, and the concept behind Divided Kingdom had me intrigued from the moment I read about it. The title refers to the "reassignment" of the United Kingdom into a new "Divided Kingdom": Based on individual temperaments of choleric, melancholic, sanguine and phlegmatic (these in turn based on the ancient medical concept of humorism), the population is broken into 4 quarters. The borders that separate the new quarters are heavily guard ...more
Judith
All right, I shamefully admit it: I love 'psychological' tests. What does your colour preference reveal about your love-life? What animal do you resemble most? Would you survive a reality television show? Thus, "Divided Kindom" was straight up my alley.

With the United Kingdom living in utter chaos, the powers that be see no other choice but to divide the country into four different quarters, according to people's psychological temperaments. And whereas I normally do tests with myself in mind, t
...more
Edward S. Portman
Definire un libro come strano a volte può essere anche positivo, vuol dire che l’autore è riuscito a raccontare una storia senza violentarla all’interno di rigidi canoni comuni. Il più delle volte però definire un libro strano significa solo una cosa, ovvero che quando si sente un rumore di zoccoli non si deve perdere tempo a pensare a una zebra, bensì a un più comune cavallo: la soluzione più semplice è spesso quella giusta, quindi quando un libro è strano non lo è perché rappresenta un piccolo ...more
Jessica
Rupert Thomson has proven to be a master of the English language, gifted in weaving multi-plotted stories into the fabric that is the main tapestry of his novels. Previous novels, such as "Dreams of Leaving" and "The Insult", also endow Thomson with a crown of originality . It is not unusual for me to lay a Thomson novel in my lap, mid-sentence, to take pause and wonder, "Where the...? How does he do it?". His most recent work, "Divided Kingdom", ushers the reader into a disaffected Great Britai ...more
Dave Emmett
I read this book for it’s cover, and it was fantastic.

Essentially, it’s about the UK, but after the country is divided into 4 different nations based on the personality types of the people who live inside those nations. People were forcibly removed from their homes, and their families and brought to the other nation if a shadowy board of figures decided they were more like the people that lived in the other nation.

It’s a pretty subversive concept, and the writing makes it seem very real; he capt
...more
Myles
Sometimes I just can't turn my brain off. I mean, just shut up and enjoy the story already!

The concept here is a good one, the United Kingdom, Great Britain though it's never referred to as that, is drastically reorganized and divided into four separate states based on psychological profiles, which are in turn based on the ancient theory of the four body humors: blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. There are further names and meanings and symbols, but they're unimportant for my purposes.

My
...more
Ian Mapp
Big Ideas - but where is the tension.

This is one of those books that is undoubtedly based on a great idea from an intelligent and thought provoking story. However, in the transistion from idea to reality, Thompson has forgotton to create a story with tension that you really get into.

Its set in the future and presents a dystopian government who have divided the country and its population into four categories. This has been based on medievel humoral pathology where you are either blood, yellow bil
...more
Althea Ann
My post-apocalyptic book club selection for this month.
Not actually post-apocalyptic as dystopian, Thompson's novel posits a near-future England which has been divided into four sectors, based on the four 'humors' of Hippocratic medicine. In order to describe these four areas, Thompson then has a narrator who manages to travel through all four restricted sectors: Red: for those of a sanguine temperament, who are expected to be positive and energetic. Yellow, choleric, for those with a tendency t
...more
Jason Jordan
I suppose it was only a matter of time until I would encounter Rupert Thomson's work, because my affinity for dystopian novels/stories has continued to grow since I read the highly influential 1984. Similar to Huxley's Brave New World, Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm, Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake – listed in order of appearance – Divided Kingdom (Vintage, 2005) begins in the future while adhering to the dystopian formula. In said books, people are forced change the way they live ...more
Alexander
I agree that on the surface this is indeed a 'dystopian' novel. It has the standard beginning -- there is a description of a very different future that hinges on a drastic change made by a totalitarian government. It's supposed to pave the way to paradise but of course the result is dreadful for most of those involved.

But it seems that Mr. Thomson, unlike other writers in this 'genre,' does not want to write about government, politics or how the system he has invented would actually work/not wor
...more
Ryandake
i bought this book a couple years ago, tried to read it, and couldn't get past the silliness of the premise. but i told myself i'd try again.

i still had a hard time getting past the silliness of the premise--150 pages into it, i was still thinking, "ya, right, britains are going to let the government smash their families, take away their children, and divide the country into four. based on the moldering theory of the four humours. ya right."

but i did partially succeed in shoving that thought int
...more
Ape
My 2008 bookcrossing journal:

This was such a wierd book. I mean, a really great read, but so dark and strange. And it really reminded me of other books such as Handmaidens Tale, Never Let Me Go and 1984 - the state taking an obsessive and very bizarre control over people's lives. Although this time splitting up the country into different personality types. Although this system, like others, wasn't exactly perfect or really working; there were people, the "white people" whom they couldn't slot in
...more
Jillian
Sep 14, 2011 Jillian rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jillian by: Goodreads
I'm fascinated by Renaissance medicine, so I found the premise of a modern population forcefully reorganized based on humoral theory intriguing… but not plausible, unfortunately; and several other points in the wandering plot, including the ending, strained credulity as well. However, it’s still a story that hits hard and sticks with you, and the writing carries everything along smoothly (and pushes my rating up to four stars), with beautifully unexpected imagery and similes on nearly every page ...more
Misha
Library Journal: /* Starred Review */ The most unsettling nightmares are those that feel as though they could really happen, and Thomson's novels (e.g., Book of Revelation ) have been a study in these kinds of psychological nightmares. In his latest, the government splits the United Kingdom and its populace into four quarters that correspond with four distinct personality types or humors—Yellow for the aggressive, Blue for the melancholics, Green for the apathetic phlegmatics, and Red for the sa ...more
Ulf Kastner
Dec 08, 2008 Ulf Kastner rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventurous conscientious objectors
I like Rupert Thomson a lot. Ever since the neon orange spine of a paperback copy of his novel Soft called out to me at a London airport book shop prior to boarding an overseas plane back to the States in the summer of 2004 I've been hooked. By now I have read each of his eight novels published thus far.

Divided Kingdom was the first newly published Thomson I got to look forward to since that Heathrow discovery. The Chip Kidd designed cover of the Knopf hardcover edition featuring a mangled matri
...more
Corey Vilhauer
Excerpt from What I’ve Been Reading – July 2008

"It’s an interesting premise, to say the least – an instantly memorable plot, one that nearly forced the book into my hands. Of course, as with any story as far fetched as this, the plausibility is thin, like a bubble. If this kind of extreme gentrification was attempted in real life, you’d find yourself in the midst of riots, with even the privileged fighting for their right to keep their Yellow-leaning son or daughter.

It’s one of the problems I ha
...more
Alessandra Tavella
Il regno diviso riprende un tema caro alla letteratura inglese da Ben Johnson in poi (la divisione delle tipologie umane sulla base della teroia medioevale dei quattro umori (bile gialla, bile nera,flemma e sangue) per proporci una favola fantascientifica ma non troppo sul concetto di liberta' ,razzismo e impoosizioni sociali.

la storia e' carina, ma non all'altezza dell'idea di fondo. Alcuni passaggi sono un filo lenti, specie all'inizio, ma poi la trama di riprende.Si mescolano molti temi, non
...more
Barry McCulloch
From the first paragraph of Divided Kingdom you know you are in capable, skilled hands. This feeling stays with you until the last page. Having not read any of Rupert Thomson’s work - this certainly won’t be the last I purchase - I didn’t know what to expect other than the clear dystopian thrust. All I knew was that I was excited and apprehensive. And you know what? I still am.

This is a brilliantly conceived novel that conjures up the memories of Huxley, Orwell and Kafka. And like Huxley’s Brav
...more
Kate
I was so looking forward to the premise of this story. Sadly, the author's characterization of the different types grossly contradicts those described in the standards which come from the same foundation such as Keirsey temperament sorter, and MBTI (which is research-based) e.g. SP/Artisans/Sanguine being future oriented, when they are present oriented. He seemed to have cherry-picked desired characteristics to attribute to the "sanguine", ignoring many of the really valuable and interesting one ...more
AriBa
The United Kingdom is divided up into 4 regions after "The Rearrangement", an attempt by the government to reform a chaotic society, their populations made of people with similar personalities and psychological make-up. One boy who is removed from his family and relocated to a new Quarter grows up in a new home with a hazy memory of his past life, doing what he can to fit into his new world, but ultimately rebels against the society that created him.

The premise is intriguing to say the least. Th
...more
Mike
An interesting premise for a dystopia - dividing England into 4 nations based on personality types. But the book lacks insight and credibility. Most of it is an improbable (illegal) trek through the 4 nations - like a survival story, not a novel about political ideas.
Crackles
Like many of the reviews before, I rather liked the concept of the dividing of the United Kingdom into 4 parts depending on personality.

The book is written in the first person, from a narrator that is still as much a stranger to me in the end, as he was in the beginning. I enjoyed the first half of the book, but from that point on it took the plot from difficult to believe, to at times utterly ridiculous. The second half of the book due to the unbelievably and insignificant sub plots becomes ver
...more
slyonbooks
Giving this 3.5

When the United Kingdom is divided into four based on the four humours - sanguine, melancholic, choleric or phlegmatic – people are sent to live in the quarter where they are deemed to belong. Thomas Parry is one such child, taken from his parents in the middle of the night. What follows is his journey into adulthood from one end of the kingdom to the other.

While parts of this book are fantastic with beautiful prose and believable dystopia (if there is such a thing), others parts
...more
James
As other reviewers have said, the premise of the book - that Britain is divided into four kingdoms, each population of a different personality type - is intriguing.

The first half of the book feels like it is setting up a distinctive, pacy political thriller - rich with potential protagonists, motives and red herrings - to play out across the second half.

Instead it turns inward, recounting the awakening/decline of the main character. I did feel a little cheated, particularly as the ending is rath
...more
Anna Jones
I love a good dystopian novel but this isn't it. I thought it was a rip off of Divergent but realised it was written 6 years previously, so maybe it's the reverse but sadly Divergent is the better novel. Almost exactly the same premise but set in the UK and not as well written. I abandoned it after 2-3 chapters. Shame!
Michael Riess
Another amazing read! Rupert Thomson's novels are absolutely riveting. If you enjoyed reading '1984' and 'Brave New World' you'll really appreciate 'Divided Kingdom'!
Chuck
This book didn't really work for me. In the first place, I couldn't buy into the notion that any nation would divide into four based upon the ancient theory of humors. It just plain didn't make sense. People are more complex than suggest a classification suggests.

After reading the novel, I found myself asking the question, what was the point? The protagonist, Thomas Parry, goes from one situation after another all without any coherent purpose. It's like he's banging around from pillar to post to
...more
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