Ab's Reviews > Daughters of the North

Daughters of the North by Sarah Hall
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Jul 11, 10

bookshelves: post-apocalyptic-futuristic, feminist, utopias-dystopias, re-reading, queer-lit
Read from March 15 to 16, 2010

If I could, I'd give this book 3.5 stars because I'm somewhere in between "liked it" and "really liked it."

An interesting take on the 'new' society post-forcibly-changed old society. I think my favorite part of the book was the first part that has Sister traveling from Rith (government controlled city with a 'big brother' feeling) to Carhullen (women-only society set up in the country, living off the land, and 'unlisted' according to government census counts). The philosophical discussion is also really interesting -- the whole question of sexuality, need, women's reliance on man, the government mandated control of women's bodies, gender roles and abilities, etc. I also would've liked to read more about this society when Jackie and Veronique were both around running it.

In a weird way, Jackie reminded me of Kurtz, from Heart of Darkness. It's like she's succumbed to some accepted madness that has everyone in her company adopting the madness while also being in awe of her, while others are like "what a sec, that's crazy!" She's seen and had to do some hard things, which I think make her into a completely different person. She has way more glimmers of humanity than Kurtz, though -- he's off the deep end without hope of being reeled in.

Here's a quote from the book that I liked: "But he must have known at heart that I was not depressed. He must have known it was more than a simple chemical response to the ongoing situation. Mine was a different kind of sickness. I didn't feel listless or oppressed. I didn't want drugs or numbness to mask my consciousness. I knew that everything around me was wrong. I could see it. I could sense it. And I had not yet found a voice with which to make my arguments. It still lay somewhere inside me, unexpressed, growing angrier."

Then, in a Q&A with the author at the back, Sarah Hall says: "The examination [of society:] is more about power systems, how people exist within them, how some people are rendered vulnerable or discriminated against, and how these systems can be broken. It's a book that celebrates female fortitude -- that's its focus. I'm certainly not attempting to damn men."
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Sarah this looks awesome!


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