finished: Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Title: Genesis
Author: Bernard Beckett
Genre: sci-fi(ish), futuristic, dystopic
Length: 150 pages
Borrowed through ILL
Rating: 4/5
Challenges: none

From Publisher’s Weekly:

Anax, the dedicated student historian at the center of Beckett’s brutal dystopian novel, lives far in the future—the distant past events of the 21st century are taught in classrooms. The world of that era, we learn, was ravaged by plague and decay, the legacy of the Last War. Only the island Republic, situated near the bottom of the globe, remained stable and ordered, but at the cost of personal freedom. Anax, hoping her scholarly achievements will gain her entrance to the Academy, which rules her society, has extensively studied Adam Forde, a brilliant and rebellious citizen of the Republic who fought for human dignity in the midst of a regimented, sterile society. To join the Academy’s ranks, Anax undergoes a test before three examiners, and as the examination progresses, it becomes clear that her interpretations of Adam’s life defy conventional thought and there may be more to Adam—and the Academy—than she had imagined. Though the trappings of Beckett’s dystopian society feel perhaps too Brave New World, the rigorous narrative and crushing final twist bring a welcome freshness to a familiar setup.

This was a very quick and interesting read. As mentioned in previous posts, it is a novel that takes place in the future, although it seems that it is not too far away, only a few hundred years from now. But I have never read a futuristic/dystopic novel like this before. The only reason that I have given it 4 of 5 stars is that I really did get a little lost in the whole, How-are-robots (aka: artificial intelligence)-and-humans-different? conversation. But, as the Publisher’s Weekly review above states, there is a final twist at the end that I never saw coming. I had read the last page of the book before I started reading–not something I usually do, I just happened to do it. So I knew how it ended, but it was driving me mad figuring out how the book got to that point. And it was a good journey to that point 🙂

I know some of you have heard of this novel and it is on your TBR piles, and I would personally recommend it to you. It is not a long book–I read it in only 3 days, with short amounts of time to do so. It could definitely be read on one day, especially a lazy weekend day. And there is hardly a dull moment. I think you’ll enjoy it, if you take the time to read it 😀

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7 thoughts on “finished: Genesis by Bernard Beckett

  1. I’ll have to check this one out soon. It sounds very interesting. I don’t usually check out the end either, because I keep wondering how it got to that point. I find it distracting.

  2. Dominique says:

    I’m interested in reading this one. Thanks for the review. 🙂

  3. Kristie says:

    If enough of you want to read it, I think it could make for an interesting discussion the next time a contemporary novel is up in the rotation 🙂

  4. Michelle says:

    Glad you enjoyed it. I didn’t see the twist coming either. I actually had to go back and reread that part a few times to fully understand it. Not sure I still fully understand it…

    And I agree with Kristie that it would make a great book club choice.

  5. Bina says:

    Yay, my library´s got it. You´ve really made me want to read it 🙂

  6. Dominique says:

    I just finished this. I got lost with some of the philosophical ideas too, I’m glad it wasn’t just me. 🙂

    I’m going to sort of vague up my opinions on the end so they’re not too spoilery, but if anyone is reading this comment and they haven’t read the book yet I would stop.

    I thought the twist was ok but I didn’t think what happened at the end was quite set up enough. I didn’t get why it was so necessary in the circumstances, just the broad logic behind doing it but not specifically regarding A? Anything potentially dangerous seemed to come about through the additionally disclosed information.

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