Author: Bernard Beckett
Rating: 4/5 stars
I was surprised that I liked this book this much. I saw someone review it on LiveJournal and put it on my To-Read list, grabbing it while I was at the library today. I was initially skeptical due to its length, but I figured something about it must have caught my eye if I had added it to my TRL.
There is a lot of symbolism in this book, from the names of the characters (of which there are only a handful), to the setting and even the characters themselves. This book was a mix between showing and telling, and executed well. To be honest, I was, once again, skeptical about an aspect of this book: namely the format. But it worked. It was a quick, yet thought-provoking read.
I am a reader who prefers to leave the author out of the books I read. This is probably a reason I dislike most classic literature, because I find that generally books who require analysis of who their author is, and the author in relation to the book, are uninteresting and fall flat to me as a reader. When reading about the Republic as an island, I, in an effort to uncover more insight to what the book might be about, was reading the inside flap synopsis -- and read the blurb about the author and the fact that he was from New Zealand. Because of this, throughout the rest of the book, I kept on believing that Republic was NZ and wondering how that would affect not only the plot but my feelings as a reader. And then I came to realize that the setting of the Republic (be it based on NZ or not) has NOTHING to do with the plot of the book itself. The Republic is an island, and all contact with whatever is left of the outside world is forbidden.
I quite enjoyed Anax as a character. The plot twist is actually something I guessed ahead of time, but I do not believe it makes the book predictable. I read a book review earlier today about Never Let Me Go where the reviewer mentioned that part of the book's success as a story (or its downfall, depending on the reader) was that the narrator just assumes that the reader knows what's going on in their world, and thus does not explain things that the reader might find strange, because they take it for granted. This book functions slightly in this way -- though a lot of this book IS explaining about the world and its history. Actually, you could say that the plot of the book is the history and Anax's interpretation of it.
I could imagine this book being a great Twilight Zone episode of old, to be honest. The real, final twist, one that I did not guess, was only revealed in the last paragraphs -- truly, within the last paragraph. Genesis is a thought-provoking book, a quick read that stays with you, and I highly recommend it.