Alexander's Reviews > Divided Kingdom

Divided Kingdom by Rupert Thomson
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Oct 14, 09

it was ok
Read in October, 2009

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 work. He wants to write about human nature. The world he has created, where people are divided by their humor, is just a vehicle he uses to analyze humankind's shared differences and similarities.

So...doesn't sound so bad right? And it's not awful, but it suffers from some painful flaws. First, the governmental system and the way people act under it borders on preposterous, and Mr. Thomson does little to make the reader feel like it's in any way plausible. He describes the situation then moves on. Next, if he does want to write about humans as emotional beings he should have done more to give his narrator, Thomas Parry, a bit of humanity. Never have I read a 300 page, first-person novel and felt like I knew less about the main character. He's completely two-dimensional...again, just a foil that Mr. Thomson uses to further his thoughts on human nature as a whole.

There's more that stretches the reader's patience but I won't get too into it. The novel takes an uncomfortable twist into the supernatural at the end...eh...really? It's like the less and less confident the author is in his plot the more vague and 'mysterious' he gets.

This wasn't a terrible book...it has it's moments and the shame is that the dystopian world created is fun to consider...but the Divided Kingdom is not really what the novel is about.
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