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Genus Paperback – 21 Jul 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Corsair (21 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184901678X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849016780
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 918,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan Trigell was born in Britain, but now lives in the France. He is the author of four thematically very different novels: Boy A; Cham; Genus; and The Tongues of Men or Angels.

Much acclaimed, Jonathan has won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, for the best book in the Commonwealth by an author under thirty five; the Waverton Award; the Italian Edoardo Kihlgren Prize; and the inaugural World Book Day Prize.

Jonathan's first novel Boy A was dramatized by Cuba Pictures, Film Four and The Weinstein Co. It was directed by John Crowly and starred Andrew Garfield and Peter Mullan. Among other prizes, it won four BAFTA Awards and the Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

Product Description

Review

Confirm(s) the promise of Trigell's splendid debut, Boy A. (Daily Mail)

No one can fault Trigell's ingenuity. (Times Literary Supplement)

Book Description

A dystopian vision of perfection from the acclaimed author of Boy A.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel is set in a Britain of the near future and is close enough to be able to make uncomfortable comparisons between what we are and what we may become. Society has changed with the ability to create genetically enhanced babies (the Improved), selecting characteristics such as health, looks, intelligence and athleticism. The very rich also add energy, confidence, determination and nerve. Words such as compassion, tolerance and empathy, however, are not in the brochures. As an interesting point, neither are those characteristics which create great artists or writers - perhaps being too unstable in personality. Hence, our hero - Holman, an artist and a dwarf, the Unimproved son of a model mother. Holman received no gene selection, not even the basic disease immunity packs - or 'charity packs' as they are known.

The Unimproved are barely represented in government and most live in The Kross, in London. This is a London where even a minor criminal conviction costs you your right to vote, where schools are streamed by 7 and privilege is brought before birth. Those people who have children they cannot afford (sound familiar?) are seen as reckless in a society where having a baby is the most expensive thing most people do. Synth and drugs are tolerated and have become the opiates of the masses. Like many of the Unimproved, Holman comes from a single parent family: "It takes two parents to save for an enriched child, but only one to spawn", as the saying goes...

Into this wonderfully created world death stalks daily, but a series of murders have unsettled The Kross. First Jesus, a pimp, is found dead. Then a taxi biker and then a hooker. All are known, or have been met, by Holman, who becomes a suspect.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Edwards on 11 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
Genus is set in a BladeRunneresque future London rid of religion following a series of 'Caliphate Wars' which have lain waste to half of mainland Europe. People have ID chips in their arms, drink synthetic alcohols and children can be genetically 'enriched'.

There are a number of vividly memorable characters, the main ones being Holman Prometheus and Detective Günther Charles Bonnet. Holman, the son of a famous model is a deformed and dwarfish artist who struggles to get around on his "fractal, valgus legs." Detective Gunt on the other hand is "as handsome as a politcian" and is the sort of policeman Jeremy Clarkson would admire. In between beating up suspects, he is investigating a series of violent deaths which lead him to something more dangerous as Genus mutates into a conspiracy thriller.

As with Trigell's powerful debut, 'Boy A', a sharp analysis of society underpins this novel. Despite being set in the future, or perhaps because of it, Genus is a blazingly good contemporary novel.

Earlier this year, Graham Swift wrote that "the novel that's contemporary in the sense of being wholly 'of now' is an impossibility, if only because novels may take years to write, so the 'now' with which they begin will be defunct by the time they're finished." However, as he also pointed out, they can have "nowness" or "something which actually out-thrills the thrill of the merely contemporary. They can have immediacy."

Genus certainly has - or, by the time you read this, had - immediacy. Published in July 2011, it includes a punchy depiction of riots of the kind which London experienced a few weeks later. At which point Trigell turns up the power:

"Gunt was in the thick of it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By James W on 21 July 2011
Format: Paperback
Jonathan Trigell's Genus is a cleverly constructed and well written piece of British sci-fi, offering a view of a not too distant future London that the reader is actually able to envisage in their lifetime. This adds a particularly real edge to the story and creates a dark sense of what could come to pass in an increasingly shallow and violent society. The story moves along at a pace with all the characters cleverly intertwining and each chapter for the majority of the book is devoted to a particular character, allowing the author to really develop and describe each one in detail so the reader is constantly drawn further into the story. It is the intense, descriptive nature of this book that I particularly enjoyed and it moves from the darkly comic to the shockingly savage and back again in scenarios ranging from the benign to the frankly bizarre.
As a fan of William Gibson, Aldous Huxley, P.K. Dick, Ray Bradbury etc I was pleased that Genus was up there with the best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Quicksilver TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
Dystopian fiction is all the rage right now, which is fine by me because I like reading it. Most new titles are aimed at the YA audience. They tend to be punchy, fast-paced and chronically over-simplified. They're exciting to read, but entire continents subjugated by totalitarian regimes, headed by a crazed megalomaniacs tend to stretch plausibility to its limits.

Jonathan Trigell's speculative fiction offering aimed at adults is Genus, a book that oozes authenticity and is all too plausible. Like most good dystopian novels Trigell alters one facet of society and analyses how that change affects the world. In this case, gene manipulation. Designer babies are the norm. The so-called Unimproved are the offspring of parents who could not afford, or chose not to have, designer babies. They have become an unwanted underclass.

Genus is set in near-future London. Most of the action takes place inside 'The Kross', a ghetto that was once Kings Cross. It follows a variety of undesirables, but focuses mainly on Holman a genetically challenged artist; a future incarnation of Toulouse Lautrec. His life is predominantly miserable, with flares of beauty. The story opens with Holman having discovered a body; random event, gang killing or serial killer? The answer to this question forms the spine of the novel.

It's hard to describe just how good this novel is. It deserves to go down as one of the greats of the genre. By using a science fiction premise Trigell poses awkward questions about present day society, most notably the increasingly vilified underclass of homeless and jobless. Coalition Britain's welfare reforms feel barely a step removed from the right-wing policies of the establishment described in Trigelll's novel.
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