One more dystopia
Yes, dystopian fiction is everywhere. From teen fiction like The Hunger Games and Divergent to more literary fare like Super Sad True Love Story and Never Let Me Go, authors just don't seem to tire of exploring the possibility of an apocalypse. (I've even read an excellent story collection called, simply, After the Apocalypse.) I'm sure some readers are done with it, ready to move on to something a bit more hopeful, but I still can't get enough.
The newest entry into the genre that I've read is Pure by Julianna Baggott, and it's pretty fantastic In it, we're introduced to Pressia, a 16-year-old girl with an interesting feature: she has a doll's head at the end of her left arm, rather than a hand. Pressia is a survivor of a nuclear explosion that fused flesh together with whatever was touching it at the time of impact. Pressia's doll hand isn't so bad when she sees babies embedded in their mothers' arms and birds trying to take flight out of a man's back. Compared to the lucky "Pure" people who were already inside the massive dome that had been built in preparation for just such an attack, though, she's got it pretty rough. However, inside the Dome, a 16-year-old boy named Partridge isn't so sure that life inside the Dome is really that much better. His father plays an important role in the governing of the Dome, but he won't give Partridge the answers to any of his questions, especially about his mother, who didn't make it inside the Dome before the Detonations. When Partridge decides to venture outside to find his answers on his own, he meets Pressia, and their lives are linked, whether they like it or not.
Even though the concept of the dystopian novel is on the verge of being overdone these days, Baggott's novel is delightfully unique, as is its heroine, yet what truly stands out is the prose, which is pure itself, elegant, precise, and filled with emotion without sentimentality or melodrama. Baggott, a creative writing professor who also writes for children under the name N.E. Body and for adults as Bridget Asher, has created a haunting, strangely beautiful world, and I'm excited to see how it will be brought to life, since Fox 2000 and the producer of the "Twilight" movies recently acquired the film rights. Maybe we'll be seeing a new doll hand trend in the future...