Vox by Christina Dalcher
PUBLISHED BY PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE
REVIEW BY KRIS WILLIAMS
I have to admit to taking some time after finishing this book to take it in. It bothered me that this is something that could easily happen, that could creep in before we knew it.
VOX is set in America in a near dystopian future. The government is run by Christian fundamentalists who believe society should reflect past values where women stayed at home, raised a family and looked after the needs of the men in their life.
Women can no longer hold jobs, are not taught to read or write, are not allowed to travel and eventually can only speak 100 words in any 24 hour period. A wristband that counts the number of words is worn by every female and fitted to baby girls when they are born. Go over the 100 word limit and an electric current shocks the wearer – and the more over the limit the bigger the shock. Women no longer have a voice.
(Statistics show that on average women speak between 16,000 and 20,000 words per day.)
Dr. Jean McClellan, an American linguistic scientist and mother of four, saw all the signs but didn’t believe it could happen to her; didn’t listen to the warnings from her friends. She always found a way to talk down their concerns. But now she finds herself living a life where her daughter will not be able to talk, where she is rewarded for not speaking at all. Where gay people are sent to prison and any female who doesn’t live by the strict moral code set out by the government is sent to work on the land.
Jean’s husband, Patrick, is the science advisor to the president. When the president’s brother has a skiing accident and a brain injury impacts his speech, Jean is asked to use her research to heal him. She is given a special dispensation to do so, but is all as it seems?
VOX is a thought-provoking book that shows what can happen if there is non-involvement and non-participation, and asks us to challenge the things that unfairly single out members of our society.
A good read.
Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.