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The Miracle Inspector: A Dystopian Novel
 
 

The Miracle Inspector: A Dystopian Novel [Kindle Edition]

Helen Smith
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Review

The Miracle Inspector is one of the few novels that everyone should read, it's a powerful novel that's masterfully written and subtly complex. SciFi and Fantasy Books

In its feminist angle, The Miracle Inspector is reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Smith has an extraordinarily rich imagination that never fails to surprise and delight. Huffpost Books.

Helen Smith crafts a story like she's the British lovechild of Kurt Vonnegut and Philip K. Dick, only with a feminist slant. Journal of Always Reviews

One of the finest novels of its genre. For Books' Sake

The Miracle Inspector is a dark dystopian novel, full of twists and turns that has the reader guessing and waiting in anticipation to see what happens next. Bella Online

Chosen as a "best book of the year" by For Books' Sake and The Cult Den.

Product Description

At only twenty years old, Lucas has a very important job at the Ministry. Most of the older men have been carted off to prison, so the young men run London. While Lucas investigates reported miracles, his young wife Angela dreams of escaping to a place where schools and theatres are still open, and women are free to work outside the home.

A bundle of secret letters from a poet involved in the revolution that ruined England, a visit to a desperate woman with a disabled child, a misguided challenge to the Head of Security at the Ministry… A series of minor catastrophes of their own making mean Lucas and Angela have no choice but to try to flee the chaos of London, with disastrous results.

Warning: The Miracle Inspector will break your heart. You will catch yourself thinking about the characters long after you have finished reading the last page.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 358 KB
  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0956517056
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003MGK8V0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #168,082 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Helen Smith is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, The Crime Writers Association and English PEN. She travelled the world when her daughter was small, doing all sorts of strange jobs to support them both - from cleaning motels to working as a magician's assistant - before returning to live in London where she wrote her first novel. She's the author of Alison Wonderland, Being Light, The Miracle Inspector and the Emily Castles mystery series as well as children's books, poetry and plays.

Helen Smith's books have reached number one on Amazon's bestseller lists in the US, UK, Canada and Germany. Her first book, Alison Wonderland, was one of Amazon Publishing's top five bestselling books when it was launched in the US in 2011. In July 2013, following the publication of Invitation to Die, Helen Smith reached the top spot as "America's most popular mystery author" on Amazon. Her books have been praised in The Times, The Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, Time Out and Wired.com. They have appeared on "best books of the year" lists in For Books' Sake, The Cult Den, The Independent and the Guardian.

Helen Smith has been invited to read at literary events and festivals in London and New York and points in between - including, most recently, a cruise ship en route to California via the Suez Canal. Her work has been read or performed at the National Theatre, The Royal Festival Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, Amnesty International's Headquarters, The Edinburgh Festival and The University of London. She's a Literary Death Match champion and the recipient of an Arts Council of England award. Her work has been optioned by the BBC. She's amazing! Please buy her books.

"Smith is gin-and-tonic funny." Booklist

She blogs at: http://www.emperorsclothes.co.uk. Sign up here to receive an email alert when a new book is published: http://bit.ly/U5KAF0

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dystopian Noir with Humour 14 Nov 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
If Patricia Highsmith wrote dystopian fiction but had more of a sense of humor, it might be something like The Miracle Inspector. The book opens in an England of the near future that's been partitioned and in decay. London proper seems to have the worst of it, walled off and Taliban-like in its social clampdown. Women can't leave the home. The Arts are off-limits. Men work meaningless bureaucratic jobs that only serve the faceless authority that keeps them all locked in, both socially and interpersonally. The book focuses on one couple, Lucas and Angela, who think they once loved each other but are really just strangers passing each other constantly. An aging and legendary underground poet, Jesmond, fuels their secret needs to escape to that sought-after heaven, Cornwall. They're all not especially likable, but they're always a little more so than those around them, chipping away at them. It works.

The saddest part might not be that they can't have what they want, but rather that they don't truly know what they'd want if they could have it.

I mention Patricia Highsmith because Smith deftly works in the dark urges and fears of Lucas, Angela and others in a way that only psychological mystery and espionage writers like Highsmith and Graham Greene do well. The story manages to remind of 1984, Brazil, Children of Men, The Road and other noirish dystopian tales yet manages to be original, partially through the dark and often subtle humor. Yes, I'm mixing films with books here, because I think this would make a good film script.

If I could give this 4.5 stars I would, but as we know we have to choose between 4s and 5s. I would have like to have had more setup and background about how England became this way, but that's also a product of me liking the story enough.

I'll be reading more from this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Miracle Inspector 15 Aug 2010
By P. J. Salisbury VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the third novel by Helen Smith. In The Miracle Inspector, the author's trademark humour leaks through the dialogue, in the wonderful verbal shorthand between the characters. Helen Smith's writing is confident and competent, always full of surprises. She has a real knack for using the unexpected to draw the reader into the story, creating tension, while maintaining a secretive intimacy.

The story is set in a dictatorship which is what London has become in a not-so-difficult-to-imagine future. Corruption is rife amongst its cliquey government departments, incomprehensible hierarchies and arbitrarily distributed privileges. Lucas has all the skills to be Winston Smith, the man who rewrites the news in Orwell's 1984, but here he is an inspector of miracles, though he has little hope of ever finding one. A subtext of disturbing menace is gradually revealed beneath a thin layer of urban domesticity. Women are forbidden to work outside the house and are permitted only to visit female relatives. Paranoia and mistrust multiply amidst rumour and the certainty of `disappearances'. No-one, it seems, survives to die of old age.

There is a constant tension between Lucas and his wife Angela - what he thinks she may be thinking is never what she is actually thinking. This causes the high-ranking official great unhappiness and he struggles with finding a solution. The humour serves to make the tragedy of miscommunication and misunderstanding all the more intense.

This story illustrates, with a curious beauty, how bewildering fantasy and irrationality can become the everyday experience of a population trapped in such circumstances; how far the human mind may retreat into imagination to defy and escape from the horrors of interrogation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written 9 Jan 2013
By Susanne
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A chilling, very well written book. Somehow, it was all too easy to imagine that this dystopian world could exist. The writing had a mesmerising effect on me - direct and honest with some great moments of humour. Who would have thought Slough would end up as a dream destination!

I hadn't read anything by the author before, but shall now have a look at her other books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Genome
Format:Kindle Edition
What's your favourite cause of dystopian society? Nuclear apocalypse? Viral pandemic? Economic crash and burn? The London of this book has contrived to put itself under a dystopian yoke through democracy! Entrusted with power, the people have demonstrated either apathy or irony in their chocies. Consequently London has saddled itself with a mad self-aggrandising bureaucracy of nonsensical jobs, such as Lucas' Inspector Of Miracles. Though there is a vague unstated threat of worldwide terrorism, more local threats of rapists and paedophiles at large, have led to women being prohibited from work, having no political rights, are being largely confined to the house and having to wear burka-like garments when outside in public.

Art too falls foul of this regime, since art offers outlets for protest and politicisation. In a world without art there is a diminished notion of love. The novel's husband and wife main characters struggle across the kitchen table to communicate to one another, let alone approach any notion of love. They cast their fantasies and desires outside of their shared house. Angela although she doesn't understand the concept, wants to be a poet's muse. Her mind flies with some love letters she's been entrusted with which like her, dream of escape beyond London. Lucas visits the wife of his security chief who has been under surveillance so that Lucas wants to put flesh on the fantasy figure he has been a witness to on screen. In the flesh however, she is covered up behind her burka-like raiment. In his job as the official investigator into claims of miracles, he becomes attached to a mute girl who only communicates by smiling.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Regret reading this.
Singularly depressing.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. R. E. Reid
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Special
Saw lots of adverts and recommendations for this online, but was left disappointed. Didn't empathise with the main characters, perhaps just not my kind of thing
Published 2 months ago by ML Smith
2.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish and far fetched
As per the heading I didn't like this book and gave up trying to read it. It was boring Dull and didn't hold my interest. Sorry but I would not recommend it to any one.
Published 2 months ago by A. Gray
1.0 out of 5 stars A novel for children?
After reading this book I thought it must be aimed for younger readers. Somewhere someone a likened it to The Hand Maiden's Tale, so I thought I'd try it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by yvette taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars close but no cigar
I've never read the same book twice, perhaps I will this one. Crazy story but filled so full of ideas
Published 9 months ago by Stuart Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Dystopian at its best!
I had this book on my 'to be read' pile for a very long time and finally dug in and read it. Like most of the books written by Helen Smith it is brilliant in its vivid descriptions... Read more
Published 14 months ago by New Girl
4.0 out of 5 stars Miracles Are in the Eye of the Beholder
The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith takes place 30 years in the future. London is no longer a democracy, but run by dictators. This future is misogynistic and patriarchal. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Georgia
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, just something missing ..
I actually liked the book but it felt like a snippet of a better story .. there weren't enough hints as to what the authority was, was this because the author didn't know? Read more
Published 19 months ago by Mushed
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read!
Having read the long list of good reviews, I was expecting a good book. And I was not disappointed, in fact it was more brilliant than I imagined. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ian H
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary Future for Women In London
This book is set in London and women are forbidden to be out on the streets of London.

Lucas and Angela are a married couple in this book. Read more
Published 21 months ago by mmbear
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democracy could be a bit of a burden when you were expected to obey the will of the people and the people turned out to be such a bunch of fools. &quote;
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