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The Wall

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  340 ratings  ·  74 reviews
The best-selling author of The Debt to Pleasure and Capital returns with a chilling fable for our time.

Ravaged by the Change, an island nation in a time very like our own has built the Wall—an enormous concrete barrier around its entire border. Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are tra
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2019 by W. W. Norton Company
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Asteropê I have no idea the timeline on this book, but most books are written a good time before their actually publication date, months if not years in some…moreI have no idea the timeline on this book, but most books are written a good time before their actually publication date, months if not years in some cases. It was also likely already written, edited and ready for publication during the confirmation hearings and therefore the likely hood of it being a coincidence is very high.

I found this review dated as early as NOV 2018 -
Which would imply that the book was written, edited (mostly if in ARC or fully) and done before then.

The confirmation hearings were September 2018 - 2 months is a short time to write a 200+ page book, get it through the editing, cover, design and other processes to get ARCs out to people to review in November. Not impossible, but unlikely.

The author went to school in England and lives in London, where Kavanaugh is a known surname. It is "anglicised variations of the Irish Gaelic surname Caomhánach." (less)
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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  340 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, britain
The genius of Lanchester's "The Wall" is that this dystopia simply envisions what might happen if we go on like this: The sea levels have risen dramatically due to climate change, Britain has build a wall around the whole island, and people who flee from the South to the North are combated like enemies in a war. Is this the most subtle book ever written? Hell no, but this author does not seem to think that the problems we are facing scream for excessive subtlety, and I don't blame him for it.

Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-dystopia
Nach einer Klimakatastrophe ist der Meeresspiegel gestiegen und auf der nördlichen Halbkugel hat es einen Kälteeinbruch gegeben. Unter der Kälte leiden besonders die Wachtposten auf der 10 000 km langen Mauer, die England komplett umgibt. Es gibt keine Küstenlinie und keinen Strand mehr, nur die Mauer. „Nationale Künstenverteidigungsbefestigung,“ nennt sich das Projekt. Diktaturen tun sich ja häufig als Sprachverhunzer hervor. Joseph Kavanagh, ein „Hiesiger“, leistet hier mit seiner Kompanie Wac ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
while it may well be compelling on the screen (surely a cinematic adaptation is inevitable?), john lanchester's the wall is mostly underwhelming on the page. another entry in the ever burgeoning dystopian subgenre of climate fiction (or 'CliFi' for those with the compulsion to spare themselves a pair of extra syllables), the wall is set in an indeterminate future within an unnamed country—one forced to erect a giant wall around its borders so as to stave off 'the others' bent on attacking or fin ...more
This is a slender book and so should have been a quick read but I found myself slowing right down in order to read every single word. Not a lot happens and by the end everything, and nothing, has changed. It's really beautiful and it's made me think a lot about asylum seekers and what else I, personally, can do today to help slow climate change.
Ian Mond
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
What foresight on the part of Faber & Faber to publish John Lanchester’s fifth novel, The Wall, in late January at the height of the partial shutdown of the United States’ Government over illegal immigration, refugee caravans and a border wall. Maybe Russian trolls aren’t to blame for the Trump presidency, maybe this has been a long game on the part of Faber’s marketing team. The conspiracy nuts on YouTube need to take a closer look.

The Wall is set sometime in the future. The Anthropocene -
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway-wins
The story is great. The characters are excellent. The plot [meaning] is fantastic.

This is a book about LIFE and the art of living it no matter what our circumstances are. You have to continue to live a life even if it is not the one you envisioned or planed for.
Joyce Dunne
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing, captivating, lyrical and such an enjoyable experience. I almost didn’t want to finish. While reading It felt as though Kavanagh, our leading man was telling me this story himself. Nothing dramatic but thrilling the way you feel when a grandparent tells you a story of their past. I really recommend this book if you enjoy storytelling that is beautiful and not all about drama if that’s not your style you might not like this but for me personally this book was amazing and I already can’t w ...more
Dan Woodall
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very clever. Every word is thought out and in its place for a reason.

The background of the characters is limited but that is kind of the point. In a world so isolated and disposable why would we want/need to know.

Prose with a almost poetic feeling. A story about an uncertain future and why a storytelling is important.

Beautiful and essential.
Marcus Hobson
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boarder Walls are all the rage at the moment, along with the vexed social question of who gets let in and, more important, who does not. With Trump’s Mexican wall hogging the headlines, I was hijacked into thinking that we would be in America and that the wall in question would be an internal barrier. How wrong I was. This book is much more like the UK’s answer to Margaret Atwood and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. A dystopian future, where things are very different to our present, but frighteningly simi ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, 2019
The Wall by John Lanchester is a grimly dystopian cli-fi novel set in the near future after an unspecified climatic catastrophe has led to a rise in sea levels and the reshaping of the landscape. A form of national service has been introduced with young people (who are fully aware that their parents and grandparents are responsible for the environmental harm that has been wreaked) serve a two year term defending the Wall - a barrier erected around the entire coastline of Great Britain to keep ou ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
AUDIOBOOK REVIEW - The Wall by John Lanchester

Set in the not too distant future, The Wall takes place in a dystopian version of the UK where the populace is conscripted into service on the The National Coastal Defence Structure, colloquially known as ‘The Wall’. It takes current-day issues—climate change, immigration/asylum, nationalism—and presents them to us through a protagonist whose world is just different enough from ours that you can understand how he grew up to accept the defects of his
Matthew Hickey
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
A dark tale that will make you think deeply about the world as it is right now (and as it is at risk of becoming in the future). It skewers the protectionist political class, while posing questions about who “we” are and what might happen if “the Others” breach The Wall, or if the defenders become those excluded.

Lanchester’s capacity to capture the times through literature is remarkable. A fitting follow up to his last novel, Capital.
Nach einer Klimakatastrophe ist der Meeresspiegel gestiegen und auf der nördlichen Halbkugel hat es einen Kälteeinbruch gegeben. Unter der Kälte leiden besonders die Wachposten auf der 10 000 km langen Mauer, die England komplett umgibt. Es gibt keine Küstenlinie und keinen Strand mehr, nur die Mauer. „Nationale Künstenverteidigungsbefestigung“ nennt sich das Projekt. Diktaturen tun sich ja häufig als Sprachverhunzer hervor. Joseph Kavanagh, ein „Hiesiger“, leistet hier mit seiner Kompanie Wachd ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eindrücklich. Spannend. Nüchtern-düster: klasse!

Es ist passiert. Man hat, wie fast immer, auf die Wissenschaftler nicht gehört, die vor der Klimaerwärmung gewarnt haben. Der Wasserpegel ist gestiegen, es gibt keinen Strand mehr auf der ganzen Welt, weite Teile von bewohnbarem Land sind weggeschwemmt und unter Wasser.

England ist es gelungen, sich irgendwie zu sichern. Im Verhältnis zu anderswo hat man sich einen bescheidenen Wohlstand durch Abschottung zum Rest der Welt erhalten.

Doch die Gesellsc
When non-genre authors write genre fiction (in this case cli-fi, sci-fi or future history genre), they never seen willing to flesh out the details, leaving the reader having to make it up in their head.

I wanted to know more about the political situation, I wanted to know more about the climate change impacts on the world of The Wall. I wanted to know more about The Captain's experience as an Other, and to know more about the people in Britain who wanted Others to be treated better.

Instead, all I
Chris Haak
Feb 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I like this novel a lot when it comes to its themes. It's a novel warning about how climate change can change the world in an awful way. People have built a wall around an unnamed country (referring to the UK, but also the US) to protect it from the sea and its rising level. But the wall is also meant to protect the country from Others who want to enter (migrants). Both very topical.

The characters are interesting and well developed, the plot is exciting and it's definitely well written. The o
Ellie Beadle
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Haven't read anything like this in ages and it was super good- really recommend and so well written.. a quick one too. Listened on audio narrated by Will Poulter who is a fab narrator big rate, nice voice.
Scott Nicoll
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
In the near future an island has built a concrete wall around its coastline to prevent *The Others* from landing on the island. This story is told through the voice of Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender who must spend 2 years on The Wall in year-round frigid weather protecting his section of the wall. You see, every man and woman must fulfill their duty being Defenders from the Others. The Others are helpless souls who are surviving the best they can in boats, rafts etc. Defenders and Others came a ...more
Jan-willem De vries
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If it is only one book you read in 2019, read The Wall. Lanchester expertly lifts the veil of an eerily plausible future that might unfold if we don’t unfuck the planet and keep building walls to keep out others. It shows not only the desolateness of such a world, but also how familial and societal bonds will break down if one generation screws up the future of the next. It will keep you at the edge of your seat and fill you with a will to fight to keep our world vital and out societies open.
Stacy Kingsley
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
The Wall has an interesting concept behind it but it lacks in development.

The Wall by John Lanchester is about a young man named Joseph Kavanaugh who is set out to work on... the Wall. Most people have few options for this dystopian future, and since Kavanaugh wears glasses he feels that his options are limited. The world is a dim and very cold place, and the wall seems to be protecting an island surrounded by water due to climate change. While on the wall the job of the "defenders" is to keep
Von Beust
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joseph „Yeti“ Kavanagh muss seinen Wehrdienst auf der Mauer ableisten: Zwei Jahre wird er in der Kälte oben auf der Mauer stehen, die Großbritannien rundum an allen Küsten umgibt, um das Land vor „den Anderen“ zu schützen, die von außerhalb eindringen wollen. Großbritannien (das erstmals auf S. 176 benannt wird) ist zu einer Festung geworden, weil – wie man nach und nach erfährt – die Meeresspiegel angestiegen sind, das Klima sich abgekühlt hat und der Wohlstand auf der Welt noch ungleicher vert ...more
miss.mesmerized mesmerized
Zwei Jahre Dienst hat er vor sich, zwei Mal 365 Tage Ödnis und Verzicht, die Joseph Kavanagh wie alle anderen auch hinter sich bringen muss. Es geht nicht anders, sie müssen die Mauer beschützen, dafür sorgen, dass die Anderen nicht hereinkommen und ihr Land überrennen. Das ist der Preis des großen Wandels. Der Anfang ist hart, doch bald schon gewöhnt er sich an den Dienst und die damit verbundenen verlässlichen Routinen. Ein steter Wechsel von Wachen und Ruhen, nur durch Übungseinheiten unterbr ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Während Großbritannien sich über den Brexit streitet und Trump nach seiner Mauer verlangt erscheint mit „Die Mauer“ ein Roman, der hochaktuell scheint –tatsächlich hat John Lanchester damit begonnen, bevor Trump Präsident wurde. Der Roman beschäftigt sich mit dem Klimawandel bzw. eher dessen Folgen und Migration. Da sind einerseits die gestiegenen Meeresspiegel, die alle Strände der Welt überschwemmt haben und die Menschen, die deshalb auf der Flucht sind. Eine Mauer soll Großbritannien schützen ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I just read John Lanchester’s „The Wall“, one recent example of climate apocalypse fiction. The story is set in a U.K. surrounded by a wall on what used to be its beaches, in order to defend against climate refugees coming in over sea. Young conscripts defend the wall, in fights to death, and for each intruder that makes it over the wall, one of the conscripts will be “put to the sea” to die. Those who survive the wall get a few benefits if they decide to procreate.

If summarized in this short ma
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Die neue, kalte Welt

Klimawandel, Migration und Brexit haben ihre Spuren in Großbritannien hinterlassen. Um sich vor den Wassermassen und den „Anderen“ zu schützen, ist die komplette Insel von einer Mauer umgeben. Zur Bewachung werden alle jungen Briten zu zwei Jahren Dienst auf der Mauer verpflichtet. Es ist kalt, grau und düster dort nach dem Wandel…und immer droht der Ernstfall über die Bewacher einzustürzen.

Ich lese selten Dystopien, vielleicht bin ich deshalb etwas unkritischer als andere L
Karen Whittaker
Feb 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
John Lanchester is an established author with a big fan base and so when I saw that the Telegraph Book Club had chosen this book as its book of the month for February I felt I could not go far wrong. All the reviews I read beforehand indicated that this book was the Orwell "1984" of its time.

So definitely not the case in my opinion.

This book has at one point in the early stages a long list of words repeated over and over again - particularly the word "concrete". How boring is a list of words you
Eine Zukunftsvision, die nicht unrealistisch ist

Nicht der erwartete Brexit-Roman sondern ein überhaupt pessimistisches Gesellschaftsbild in Zeiten des Klimawandels, in der ein Land wie Großbritanien exemplarisch in seiner Abschottung ist. Auch andere Ländern wollen Mauern aufbauen und kennen keine Gnade gegen jeden, der nicht direkt dazugehört. Das ist der auf die Spitze getriebene Egoismus.
John Lanchesters dystopischer Roman ist auch entsprechend düster. In einem Interview auf Deutschlandfunk K
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dave Turner
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, fiction, kobo
The near future: The polar caps have melted, water levels have risen, beaches have disappeared, famine is the norm and people are desperate to get somewhere safe. Britain, whre the quality of life has remained relatively high, to keep out 'The Others' has built a five meter high wall encircling it's (diminished) coastline. Everyone has to do two years on the Wall keeping watch. This is the story of one of 'The Defenders'.

With the climate the way it is and xenophobia making a comeback, the moral
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John Lanchester is the author of four novels and three books of non-fiction. He was born in Germany and moved to Hong Kong. He studied in UK. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and was awarded the 2008 E.M. Forster Award. He lives in London.
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“concretewaterwindsky” 0 likes
“I’m not saying that I was starting actively to think about it. I’m just saying that I could see why people did. See that they liked the combination of long dull uneventful days with a strong sense of purpose looming overall; the mix of aimless time, structured days and meaningful work. A bit like human life in general, you could say, the terrible regularity with which nothing happens, the genuine terror when something does. Hurry up and wait. That’s the motto which governs most lives. It’s the motto which governs the Wall, for sure. The only thing worse than when nothing happens is when something does.
Pg 120”
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