This is a stand-alone thriller from P. D. James. The year is 2021. No child has been born for twenty-five years. The human race faces extinction. ...Show synopsisThis is a stand-alone thriller from P. D. James. The year is 2021. No child has been born for twenty-five years. The human race faces extinction. Under the despotic rule of Xan Lyppiat, the Warden of England, the old are despairing and the young cruel. Theo Faren, a cousin of the Warden, lives a solitary life in this ominous atmosphere. That is, until a chance encounter with a young woman leads him into contact with a group of dissenters. Suddenly his life is changed irrevocably as he faces agonizing choices which could affect the future of mankind.Hide synopsis
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Whenever I speak about this book with friends, I always call it the worst book I've ever read. Not because of the writing style nor the story premise. In fact, the premise is what first caused me to pick the book up. I bought it at a time when money was tight and I counted my pennies carefully so perhaps that is why my disappointment was so complete. The book was very interesting throughout the first two-thirds, but the ending was so absolutely unbelievable, I felt gypped. The author could have done so much more, but instead I felt I had wasted my time and money.
This book resonates with sadness. It is introspective, slow moving, and thoughtful, which is not what you might expect for a story about the end of the human race. What struck me about the story is the quality of stillness inherent in many of the tableaus, even as the main characters hurtle towards their fates. Outlandish, violent things are happening, yet the predominant imagery is of trees and woods and quiet English countrysides. It's an interesting juxtaposition that worked for me but I can see how it might not be an effective tool for everyone.
After seeing the well-made movie, which due to its violence was diffcult to get through, I decided to "relax" and read the book. I was surprised that the only similarities between the book and movie were the title, the main character, and the premise. In terms of plot and theme, the two extensively differed. Of the two, I would recommend the movie. It was more effective at conveying the results of no more children being born, people turning either apathetic or savage. It's a wonderful premise. I only wish P.D. James was as good a writer as the movie's screenwriter.
I read this book before the movie version (with Julianne Moore and Clive Owen) of it came out . The first half of the book was really interesting and went into a lot more detail than the movie did about the social problems caused by men not being furtile anymore. The second half of the movie was very different, though, and was kind of suspenseful but you don't learn enough about the characters to really care what's going to happen to them. Without giving away too much detail... there's one character that falls in love with another, but we don't really know anything about that other character besides their name, so it gets a little irritating sometimes.
Overall the book was a fun read, but I would give it a better rating if the second half was as good as the first. Also, if you saw the movie first, expect the plot of the book to be very different.
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