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The Facility

3.11  ·  Rating details ·  444 ratings  ·  61 reviews
""Who are you? Are you the police? This isn't legal, you know. You can't hold me like this."""
In a near-future dystopian Britain, democracy has been undermined. Emboldened by new anti-terrorism laws, police start to "disappear" people from the streets for unspecified crimes. But when unassuming dentist Arthur Priestley is snatched and held prisoner at a top-secret facilit
Paperback, 353 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Picador (first published 2011)
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3.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  444 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Laura Rash
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a different storyline here that kept me interested the whole time. Quite a rev up in the ending & all around entertaining. I’m quite the fan of SL now & am definitely reading all his works.
This dystopia had a massive amount of potential to be fantastic.
The story was great, but the execution didn't (in my humble opinion) quite capture it.

The idea of a brand new lethal virus spreading is not new, but for me it never gets boring. I would have wanted to know more of the virus itself, it's symptoms, progression, possibke origin... etc. To make the threat more real.
A sexually transmitted plague didn't quite convince me. Neither did the "scientist".

I would have made it bigger. The epid
Aug 30, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm quite fond of dystopian novels, but I was ready to chuck this book in the bin about half way through. There are too many holes--too much uncertainty. Was the disease intended or not? Either answer requires more explanation than was given, and because it's so ambiguous, the reader is left to deal with a bland, indecisive ending. I'm not often interested in reading books that leave me saying, "Well...that happened." I want more.

I didn't mind parallel storylines, but once the journalist lost t
George K. Ilsley
Had rather a strange reaction to this short novel. I loved the first chunk of it so much I wanted to read everything Lelic has written. However, by the time I finished The Facility, I wasn't so sure. It was unclear if the disease experienced was intended, perhaps, as a mirror of life in a creeping dystopia. I can live with a lot of ambiguity in novels, but here a craved a bit more certainty. Was there really a disease? Why approach it this way, when there are other means (quarantine legislation, ...more
Marc Nash
Jun 28, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
That difficult second novel... This book can't seem to decide what it wants to be. If it's a dystopian near future Britain, yet there are only 86 people who are inconvenienced. If it's a thriller, there's an awful lot of stopping off to buy sandwiches for lunch and having a drink down the pub. If it's a political novel, it's caught between the 2000's threat of terrorism and a throwback to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980's. Either in its conception it just hasn't been thought through imaginatively ...more
Stephen Hayes
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Kafka meets Orwell in contemporary England" says the blurb on the cover.

Well, not quite, but one can see how they arrive at the comparison. Simon Lelic simply extrapolates some trends in British society and politics into the near future, and the picture he gives is generally quite believable. All it needs is the detention-without-trial legislation that some British politicians desperately wanted, but didn't get.

Franz Kafka and George Orwell wrote about dystopian futures in which there are extr
Sep 21, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointed by this book.


I felt like the beginning of 'The Facility' implied that the 'disease' was actually non-existent, so I kept waiting for the big reveal that it was actually manufactured by the government, or that the government had used a made-up illness to arrest subversives, or that it didn't exist at all and the facility was just an excuse to use human guinea pigs for drugs trials...but it never came. In fact, nothing ever came! There seemed no real point to this book, no p
Jan 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-thriller
Slightly disappointed. That's how I felt by the end of The Facility. I haven't read Lelic's other two novels but this had an intriguing premise and the first third was strong enough to get me hooked. Unfortunately any mystery in the plot quickly evaporates and from then on the rest of the book feels rushed. Interesting characters like Dr. Silk are woefully unexplored and long sections away from the facility itself detract from the most interesting feature of the tale. Still, it was a fairly quic ...more
Jun 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Bit of a missed opportunity. Great idea about the rights and wrongs of forced internment using terrorism legislation, and the balancing act between individual freedom and society's need for safety and protection. However the ideas were not sufficiently explored and it descended into a rather boring pursuit scene at one point. The tone was almost jokey at times and the characters weak. Three stars for its central premise, not for execution!
Dec 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simon Lelic is a master of psychological thrillers and his newest book, although a bit of a departure from his previous two, is excellent! He foretells a frighteningly realistic world where the police have virtually unlimited power and can "disappear" citizens on a whim. I opened this compelling and thought-provoking novel and couldn't put it down!
Raphael Powery
May 14, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'll try to be as vague as possible to avoid any spoilers in this review.

So what can I say about this book exactly? Well there was a lot of potential for something great. Since Lelic was fairly new at writing novels,I gave him two chances. I started off with "The Child Who" which was alright, it was not something partiularly amazing but it had some great highlights, some of the parts that made you want to feel tense really did a good job. Now when it comes to "The Facility", I have to say, this
Clay Stafford
About the first page of the first chapter, I thought, “What the…” Yet, I was riveted.

The story takes place in a growing English police state more concerned with napping terrorists – and innocents that they think are terrorists – than they are in protecting the innocent.

“My husband is not a terrorist, Mr. Clarke. Whatever he’s into, I can assure you it’s not terrorism. He’s a dentist.” That’s no deterrent. All it takes is someone to point the finger.

I found the novel so real, it was frightening.
Mandy Smith
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this,the subject was different,and realistic! Scary but could happen. Good writing,good characters,the only reason it took me a while to read was because I am decorating my whole house!

Arthur,a dentist is taken by two men and questioned about his life and sexual habits and beaten. He is drugged and taken by coach to a hospital/prison -the facility. He is not given any information but is treated like a prisoner,he soon finds out his fellow inmates are sick and then they start disa
Jayne Charles
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So glad to pick up another book by Simon Lelic, after the frankly brilliant "Rupture". This is a little different, a disturbing look at a Britain in which the police have been given sweeping new powers. I found it elegantly written with a lot of space "around the edges" for the reader to fill in.
May 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Got just over a third of the way through it and had absolutely no interest in the plot or the characters. One star because I wasn't enticed to finish it even after reading so much of it.
Carol Vincenty
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves at least 10 stars. It is extraordinary and absolutely must be read!
Jun 12, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a waste of time. I only read this book as I read another by this author and wanted to give him a chance but this was the worst book I've read in ages.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe for some, but not my thing. Boring, unconected, outspun.
David Hebblethwaite
Lelic’s debut, Rupture [my review], played about with the conventions of the police procedural to produce an interesting examination of bullying, and the issue of where our sympathies should lie if someone who is bullied takes extreme measures. The author’s follow-up novel, The Facility, looked set to do a similar thing with a different subgenre and moral issue, namely the near-future political thriller, and the issue of government responses to security threats – but it’s not quite as successful ...more
Starr Gardinier
Every once in a great while a book comes along that is both subtle and direct with its message. In the great novels that play this dangerous balancing act, the reader is left wondering not so much ‘what it all means’ but rather ‘what does it all mean for who I am?’

In “The Facility,” you’ll be left angry, heartbroken, and asking yourself just how far you would be willing to go for life and country. To say it is set in a ‘dystopian future’ separates the reader from the truth. It is set in England
Ruth Hill
I have to admit that this book is not my normal kind of book to read. Probably if I had not already agreed to read and review it, I may not have finished it. But in many ways, I am glad I persevered. The story was very realistic, and perhaps the romantic in me did not like that. But I did find that at the end, I actually cared about the people involved and even wished things might have been different for them.

I will warn you right off the bat. The language of the book is realistic, and profanity
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like many other reviewers I was eager to read The Facility having loved Simon Lelic's first novel Rupture and I was not disappointed. While different in scope and subject to its forerunner Lelic once again unflinchingly tackles some of the thorniest issues facing modern society. The Facility, which is set in the near future, depicts a nation in which stringent anti-terrorism legislation is regularly used to curb the civil liberties of a populace all too willing to shrug its shoulders and accept ...more
It took me a few chapters to get into this one, but once I did it held my attention to the end.

The description of the book says that it is set in a "near-future dystopian Britain," but it didn't seem dystopian to me, at least not in the sense that everything was unpleasant or bad. However, the government in this story has sacrificed some civil liberties for the sake of their "Unified Security Act," which they claim is designed to protect the citizens of the country from threats of terrorism but
Wood Duck
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
It's a well-written thriller with a very modern style. The characters are a little typical and the plot is predictable. I must say that I did not enjoy it. It offers no hope and no insight. I do not find the fear compelling or the apathy that seems to be the antagonist to be convincing. SO in the end, it offers no insight, hope, surprises, or people that I was impressed by.
My bias here is that I am a romantic at heart and while I am actually a fan of Orwellian fiction. I feel that it has more to
Aaron (Typographical Era)
To say that Simon Lelic’s latest offering, The Facility, bears a passing resemblance to late Nobel Prize winning author Jose Saramago’s classic novel Blindness would be more than fair. Both stories deal with an eerily similar premise which entails the rise of a strange illness of unknown origin and the government’s attempts at controlling the crisis that ensues through means of imprisonment. Rather then being content with producing a clone however, Lelic takes his tale in a slightly different di ...more
Jan 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: via-lexpub
I quite enjoyed this book though on closer exam I felt there were some things that brought it from a 4 star to the 3 star rating I've given. I have not ready any of the author's other writing so I read without any expectations and found the book compelling from the start and only 'mildly' dystopian. The first half to 2/3rds of the book seemed perfectly good, quickly paced, the prison overseer character was well done. Plenty to keep me grasping for the next chapter to see what was next. The end t ...more
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
The press releases say "The Facility" is setup to "protect" the citizens, but when new information shows otherwise, are those in charge still comfortable with their roles? What happens when men and women are taken in for "treatment" without notification or warning? Does anybody have the whole story of what's going on in Simon Lelic's dystopian Britain?

With ever-changing points of view, Lelic lets us into the minds and hearts of those in charge, those behind bars, and those still "safe" on the ou
Marc Leroux
I received this book as part of the GoodReads giveaway program.
This is a story, set in England, in the near future, and deals with the issue of a state that has too much power, and no accountability. It is somewhat disturbing, in that the scenario described is entirely possible. The storyline, people are getting sick with a highly contagious illness and are whisked away to a secret facility where they become experiments for a cure, has a number of holes, but they don't detract entirely from the
Feb 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmm, bit of a strange book this one. The plot was great (as was the plot of Lelic's previous novel, Rupture), but somehow it seemed lacking in suspense. Much of the book was concerned with the goings on within the Facility itself. I think more could have been made of the plot which concerned the actual hunt for the Facility. It seemed as if the book ran out of steam before the end, and for me, this was disappointing, as it had been such a promising storyline. I still enjoyed the book, but I can' ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on Lelic's other two books, I was a little disappointed. This is a thriller, based on a dystopian society where the government are secretly detaining people in prison. It's quite a page turner, but I thought it ended quite abruptly and almost in the middle of the story without really having a satisfying ending.
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Critical Era: Author Appearance: Simon Lelic 4 6 Jun 25, 2012 08:36AM  

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Simon Lelic was born in 1976 and has worked as a journalist in the UK and currently runs his own business in Brighton, England, where he lives with his wife and two sons.
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