Award-winning P.D. James, one of the masters of British crime fiction, plots this atmospheric and disturbing novel in the year 2021. Children of Men is a brilliant mystery possessing all of the qualities which distinguish P.D. James as a novelist. Under the despotic rule of Xan Lyppiatt, the Warden of England, the old are despairing and the young ...
Award-winning P.D. James, one of the masters of British crime fiction, plots this atmospheric and disturbing novel in the year 2021. Children of Men is a brilliant mystery possessing all of the qualities which distinguish P.D. James as a novelist. Under the despotic rule of Xan Lyppiatt, 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 agonising choices which could affect the future of mankind. PD James is the world's pre-eminent crime writer, most famous for her Adam Dalgliesh mysteries and for her bestselling titles Death Comes to Pemberley and The Murder Room. Children of Men was adapted into a hit film in 2006, directed by Alfonso Cuaron the film starred Clive Owen, Michael Caine and Julianne Moore.
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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.
Mar 19, 2008
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.
Apr 24, 2007
Here's a change - The movie's better!
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.
Apr 4, 2007
First half really good, second just OK
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.
Publishers Weekly, 1992-12-28 In her 12th book, the British author of the two series featuring Adam Dalgleish and Cordelia Gray ( Devices and Desires and An Unsuitable Job for a Woman , respectively) poses a premise that chills and darkens its setting in the year 2021. Near the end of the 20th century, for reasons beyond the grasp of modern science, human sperm count went to zero. The last birth occurred in 1995, and in the space of a generation humanity has lost its future. In England, under the rule of an increasingly despotic Warden, the infirm are encouraged to commit group suicide, criminals are exiled and abandoned and immigrants are subjected to semi-legalized slavery. Divorced, middle-aged Oxford history professor Theo Faron, an emotionally constrained man of means and intelligence who is the Warden's cousin, plods through an ordered, bleak existence. But a chance involvement with a group of dissidents moves him onto unexpected paths, leading him, in the novel's compelling second half, toward risk, commitment and the joys and anguish of love. In this convincingly detailed world--where kittens are (illegally) christened, sex has lost its allure and the arts have been abandoned--James concretely explores an unthinkable prospect. Readers should persevere through the slow start, for the rewards of this story, including its reminder of the transforming power of hope, are many and lasting. 125,000 first printing; BOMC main selection. (Mar.)
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