Thursday, March 4, 2010

Veracity by Laura Bynum

I finished this book a few days ago, and have been turning it around in my mind ever since.   This is another book that I ordered for our library's collection, and then put on hold for myself (yes, most of my books come from the library -- it's one of the little bonuses of seeing the review journals, etc. and getting to actually order things).

If you haven't already seen something about this book, the short summary is this, taken from the inside flap:  "In the tradition of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Laura Bynum has written an astonishing debut novel, a bold and incendiary vision of a chilling, all-too-plausible future in which speech is a weapon and security comes at the highest price of all."  
         And from the back cover, a quote from Elizabeth Moon: "A remarkable book, thought-provoking, horrifying, and yet hopeful."

And here are my thoughts:  I think this is a book that many people should read, not just because it is well-written, not just because the main character is intriguing and compelling, and not just because the story is creative.   I believe this book should be read simply for the concept it presents of a future where the power of speech is chipped at little by little, resulting in society living under a suffocating blanket of terror.    If you've ever read Orwell's 1984, you are familiar with the lists of un-words, the concept of thoughtcrime.  Laura Bynum's world is one where if a single word is spoken, there can be terrifying repercussions (rape and torture at a minimum).   Little by little, words are forbidden, creating Red Lists of the unspeakable that tighten the screws tighter and tighter around the society.    I found this book nearly impossible to put down, and several times, I forced myself to slow down while reading it so that I could really digest what was happening in the story.  As a lover of words, it's difficult for me to imagine a place where even speaking a word such as "heresy" is enough to justify someone assaulting you.   However, I couldn't look away from this book, even when I was horrified, because of the very hope that Elizabeth Moon mentions.  The main character is strong, and I needed to know what was going to happen to her.    I also kept thinking about words I use all the time, and take for granted; this story has made me appreciate the power and beauty of language (and made me determined to broaden my vocabulary on a regular basis).       This is definitely a story that will (hopefully) resonate with many readers, and one I plan on re-reading again.

Some of my favorite words, right now:  contemplate, perplexed, fantastical, fluidity, effervescent, ethereal, heresy, veracity.        and cinnamon --- not only a favorite word, but a favorite spice of mine!

2 comments:

Another Daydreamer said...

Great review! I've only just begun reading Veracity, but already what you've said resonates with my feelings on the book. I'm so glad you didn't give any spoilers! :-)

Dannie said...

I can't wait to read my copy!

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