Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Children of Men by P.D. James

DATE PUBLISHED: 1992 DATE READ: July 2009 NOTES: In a world where no child has been born for 25 years a small group of five rebels begin to plan to challenge the ruling dictatorship of England. But the five are far from united and seek help from Theo Faron, an academic who is the cousin of Xan the Warden of England. He believes there are many injustices and agrees to help them albeit reluctantly. He is also strongly attracted to Julian, a beautiful member of the group. Soon one of the group is killed and it is revealed that Julian is pregnant – obviously a momentous event. When her husband realises it is not his child he runs away to betray the group, having hoped to use the birth to gain power and prestige for himself. Children of Men is a beautifully written dystopic novel The infertility has caused changes in attitudes and morality as the population becomes distorted. Many social issues are raised: -“voluntary” suicides of the elderly -indulgence of last born Omegas leading to criminality -importation of other races to fill the labour gap but without being given any rights -brutal suppression of criminals The author also explores the way in which the regime in power wants to “do the right thing” but ends up prioritising policies and never quite coming to grips with the most serious problems. A really interesting novel that – and Theo is a great invention as the reluctant hero.

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