Monday, May 30, 2011

The Declaration

Gemma Malley's The Declaration. We meet Malley's heroine, Anna, in a society that's unraveling. One hundred or so years earlier, "Longevity," a new drug granting immortality, took the world by storm, only to lead to an untenable swell in population. Anyone who wants to live forever in this brave new world must agree by law not to have children (thus the eponymous declaration) ... or else. Anna is a "Surplus," a fallout of this decree who ekes out a stark existence (in a neo -Dickensian outpost known as Grange Hall) with the hope of becoming a Valuable Asset to the adults immortal. However, with the arrival of a new Surplus, Peter, who's lived on the Outside his whole life, she discovers a path to the life she might have lived. A world in which children struggle against the adults in charge isn't a new concept, but Malley gives it a provocative twist in a debut that echoes Margaret Atwood, Aldous Huxley, and--most recently--Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go as it explores what happens when you tangle with reproductive power. --Anne Bartholomew
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