For the first review of February, I went out of my comfort zone.
I went through a phase recently where I was desperate for a good dystopian fiction novel. It came around after I had just remembered and reread Margret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and I remembered I had read a brilliant novel from Christina Dalcher called Vox.
I was so glad to find that she had published another dystopian novel. And let me tell you, I loved Q probably more than I did Vox.
Something with the story resonated with me. The premise of the world that Dalcher constructs in Q was realistic to me. Coming from a background where the societal pressure I lived in was more focused on what degree and what marks I had achieved more than what I was able to actually do crawled out of me just after I understood that the world of Q was based on this.
A world where you are basically marked by what a test that is done on you as an infant tells you, you are able to do. Not what you can actually do. Not your aspiration. Not the work that you put in. But a test that benchmarks you in one of the classes predefined by the authoritarian government.
An instant favourite. Dalcher is a master at setting up her characters to succeed.
The main character through which the story is told is Elena Fairchild. Elena is a mother of two and she is in fact classified as being part of the upper class in the society. She is a teacher in one of the new elite schools that her two daughters attend. Elena’s children, Anne and Freddie are exactly like she is. Ambitious and hard working to achieve the standard that her mother but also the society holds of them.
We follow Elena on a journey of discovery but also understanding that the danger was always closer to home. Her husband does work for the government and when a recent mandate asks that all children are periodically checked for their quotient (for short Q), Elena’s dark past and secrete come to the surface.
I thoroughly enjoyed the journey Elena goes through. Emotionally she’s one of the most stable characters I have read in a long while. She makes sacrifices through out the book that made sense and didn’t needed to be explained by long paragraph’s because Dalcher worked on setting up her characters for what was to come.
Q is a standalone novel that will become an instant favorite for everyone who reads it. I’m thoroughly excited of what Christina Dalcher will publish next and if she can keep raising the bar in her novels.