Book Review – Vox by Christina Dalcher
First published, 2018
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Oh, how I love this novel. I’ll admit, right out of the gate, that I’m not overly familiar with dystopian novels but, if this is an example of them, I know what I’m reading for the rest of time.
The story follows Jean McClellan, articulate, professional woman, wife, and mother to four children. Her life over the past year has been spent in near-silence as she is limited to only one hundred spoken words per day. Any more than one hundred, and a thousand volts of electricity will shock her via a word-counter on her wrist. This is the new Pure Movement, a terrifying organisation, who combine their powers across politics and religion and punish those they deem of limited morals. The women who can’t hold their tongues are paraded across television, their infractions listed to the waiting audience, and they are then sent across country, to work, unpaid, and wordless on the land.
The gay people are imprisoned until they can be forced into loveless and, let’s face it, wordless marriages. And sort of premarital or extramarital physicality is deemed as bad as criminal activity.
The children are separated in their schools. The girls are not taught to read, but rather receive a rudimentary education consisting of small-scale maths (to help them with shopping) and learning to keep quiet. The girls also wear the word counters.
It’s a horrifying story. Beautifully imagined, stunningly written and, yes, there’s some swearing but, in all honesty, I think if you took the language from a person, the words inside their heads would be strong and screaming.
Tremendous. Go shopping.