Jenny Roth's Reviews > Salvation City

Salvation City by Sigrid Nunez
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's review
Jun 01, 2010

it was ok

I'm ambivalent about this book, which is why I took a few days before attempting to review it. I didn't dislike it, but I also didn't particularly enjoy reading it.
First of all, I think the book was mis-pitched. I got the galley at the dystopian fiction panel at BEA (indeed, I snagged one of the last copies, so I'm surprised that no one beat me to reviewing it on here). At the panel, Sigrid Nunez spoke about how she enjoyed crafting a language and culture for her new society. But in fact, the world in which Salvation City is set is very much like our own. It appears to take place 5-10 years in the future. Yes, Nunez threw in a few inventive new slang words, but most of the linguistic patterns are identical, and even the technology (iPods, email, video games) seems stuck some time in the noughties. In fact, this futuristic society seems outdated before the book has even published--if teens today rarely use email, why would they in ten years?
The plot itself has potential--a normal kid is orphaned by a plague and adopted onto an evangelical Christian compound--but Nunez doesn't do too much with it. She certainly doesn't do anything dystopic. And, most disappointingly, the plot lacks a driving force, a direction. I finished this book without any sense of fulfillment. If only Nunez had told the story of Cole's life before and during the plague, rather than focusing on the dismal (and bland) aftermath, this could have been a thriller rather than another sleepy rural tale.
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Reading Progress

June 1, 2010 – Started Reading
June 1, 2010 – Shelved
June 1, 2010 –
page 150
June 6, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Nickelini (new)

Nickelini I just read it and I agree with you 100%.

message 2: by Nickelini (new)

Nickelini Actually, on second thought, I almost agree with you 100%. But I think you have the time wrong--I can't see this as being 5-10 yrs in the future, but instead next year (or even right now). As you say, this futuristic society seems outdated already.

Jessica Not sure I agree -- as sci-fi, it's a little dull, but as a novel about families and growing up, it's pretty brilliant.

Shannon I agree with you. At first, I didn't mind the lack of plot, but it started to bother me around 80%.

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