The Book of Joan
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What exactly is atmosphere in fiction? For me, it’s the specific headspace a story creates as I read and process it. Reading The Book of Joan, that headspace became an ocean of calm reflection, concealing currents of boiling anger just below its surface. I think of it as the literary equivalent of Massive Attack’s Mezzanine, an album I like to describe as anxiously calm.
In the future, our Earth is ravaged—torn apart through warfare and ecological collapse. The most affluent ...more
Starting with the good: ...the writing was occasionally pretty.
That's it. And, frankly, the prettiness was severely inhibited by the attempt to be profound with the actual content.
Now for the bad: ...oh boy, where do I even begin?
Do I start with the premise? The sudden devolution of humanity into hairless white androgynes obsessed with their own self-mutilation? This sexless soci ...more
There were hints along the pre-r ...more
This thing is bloody, violent, sexually charged and angry without being overly academic. The story is challenging to say the least, but fiercely compelling. It's c ...more
That's all we are."
After Earth has been destroyed, humanity is trying to survive in genetically modified forms in the nearby universe. The future species is occupied with trying to find ways to reproduce - the ability has been lost and they are dwindling. Their stories intertwine with the girl who caused the revolution and destruction in the first place, and may be enough of a force to start another. Joan of Arc? Somewhat.
There are some scenes of violence to women that I felt ...more
And then there was the crass sexuality. I know, I'm sure it was meant to be blunt, to be shocking maybe, but ultimately it was just... obtuse. Too many sewn-up c**ts, shriveled penises, flattened boobs. Seems like for that to happ ...more
Several decent ideas can be found in The Book of Joan, but nothing holds the book together. I like the technological aspects, especially the concept of “skylines”—umbilical cords connecting dead Earth to a failing-to-thrive space station. But that’s about it.
The prose feels YA, the content is definitely not. Every emotion results in a physical reaction, and that gets old after the first occurrence.
This is an exploration of eco-feminism dealing with sex, violence, and gender ...more
Copies of Lidia Yuknavitch's post-apocalyptic dystopian novel The Book of Joan must be flying off the shelves. The reviews have been raves. It's been called a "dizzying, dystopian genre mash-up" and, in a New York Times Book Review cover story, "brilliant" and "incendiary." So why isn't it good? The novel's premise is pretty intriguing. Earth's sole survivors, all affluent and upper class, are floating around in space on a craft called CIEL. They can see Earth off in the distance, no longer a be...more
The Book of Joan seems to have a very complicated relationship to marginalization and oppression, and it doesn't seem to realize it. This is a book that is trying to say something about the nested issues of gender oppression and environmentalism, but because the story takes place on a space station, and because there are issues of access getting to that space station, the cast is largely wealthy and largely (literally) White.
This is a book full of very strange contra ...more
There is so much promise within The Book of Joan wh ...more
Brilliant, unflinching, imaginative and scathing.
These were the words that came to mind when I finished Yuknavitch’s literary tale of the reimagining of Joan of Arc set in the near future.
This multilayered tale with a feminist bent and where the past is the present of the future appealed, intrigued and provoked me in that this book was always in my mind whenever I had to put it down for other life commitments.
This book exposed me to the concept of “corporea ...more
Exploring female relationships to each other, to men, and to their own bodies, Yuknavitch's tale is ...more
Each novel I read by Lidia Yuknavitch is some how, even better than the last. I had to pace myself while reading, as to savor it. The Book of Joan is dystopian unlike anything I've read before. Beautifully written and full of riveting action. I'll definitely be buying the hardcover when it comes out in April, and re-reading this masterpiece. Thanks to HarperCollins for the E- galley.
Two things have always ruptured up and through hegemony: art and bodies. That is how art has preserved its toehold in our universe. Where there was poverty, there was also a painting someone stared at until it filled them with grateful tears. Where there was genocide, there was a song that refused to quiet. Where a planet was forsaken, there was someone telling a story with their last breath, and someone els ...more
Thank you HarperCollins and Edelweiss for the ARC.
All that said, I did like it!