When she woke, she was red. Not flushed, not sunburned, but the solid, declarative red of a stop sign. An enthralling and chilling novel from the author of MUDBOUND, for fans of THE HANDMAID'S TALE and THE SCARLET LETTER. Hannah Payne's life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she awakens to a nightmare: she is lying on a ...
When she woke, she was red. Not flushed, not sunburned, but the solid, declarative red of a stop sign. An enthralling and chilling novel from the author of MUDBOUND, for fans of THE HANDMAID'S TALE and THE SCARLET LETTER. Hannah Payne's life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she awakens to a nightmare: she is lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes - criminals whose skin colour has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime - is a new and sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, according to the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she's shared a fierce and forbidden love. WHEN SHE WOKE is a fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future - where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.
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Based on my reading and the future of our nation, this novel was and is one of the most prescient looks into a dystopian future that has been printed thus far. It shares a view of the future that would scare the pants off people who believe in freedom of conscience.
America can and should remain free of the undue influence of religion, yet the proponents of religion have chosen to seek the institution of religion as the overarching power in this nation. This book shows exactly what will happen if we allow this kind of movement to take over our nation. We are the result of the principles of the Enlightenment and we can and should continue on a secular track in this nation.
Publishers Weekly, 2011-11-28 In a dystopian future ruled by religious fundamentalists, young Hannah Payne is convicted of murder after having an abortion and becomes a "Chrome"-a criminal whose skin pigment has been altered to reveal her criminality to the world. Heather Corrigan begins her narration in a young, frightened voice, conveying Hannah's emotion, innocence, vulnerability, and shame. As Hannah matures and begins to question societal values and take control of her life and choices, Corrigan's voice gradually becomes stronger and more determined, reflecting the character's evolving maturity and strength. Corrigan also skillfully renders the book's supporting cast with a dazzling array of distinctive voices, including Southerner Kayla, French Simone, a sympathetic Bostonian preacher, and several merciless, bombastic, fire-and-brimstone villains. With Corrigan's excellent performance, this already thought-provoking novel becomes an utterly compelling, can't-stop-listening audiobook. An Algonquin hardcover. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly, 2011-08-15 Though she was raised a good Christian, Hannah Payne often asks uncomfortable questions in Jordan's second novel (after Mudbound), such as "Why does God let innocent people suffer?" But questioning authority and breaking Texas law are two different things. Involved with her pastor, Hannah finds herself pregnant; to have the baby would mean publicly naming the father, so Hannah has an abortion. But in this alternate America, three years after the "Great Scourge" turned many women sterile, abortion is illegal, and Hannah is arrested. Her sentence: to live for several years as a "chrome," injected with a virus that turns her skin bright red. Her father finds her refuge in a halfway house for nonviolent chromes of all hues, but Hannah rebels against the abuse she receives in their "enlightenment sessions" and flees into the arms of an underground feminist group whose brutal pragmatism frightens her. But as she falls victim to betrayal after betrayal, Hannah's occasionally jarring naivete begins to break down. Comparisons to The Handmaid's Tale are inevitable; Jordan extrapolates misogynist fundamentalism to a logical endpoint, but she does little else. Characters are political archetypes, the narrative wanders, and even Hannah's transformation from dutiful daughter to take-charge fugitive feels false. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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