4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A grim look at a world where no more children are born.,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Children of Men (Paperback)
This book captivated me for its excellent use of the language. Admittedly it has a slow start, but once you latch on to it, the book gets hold of you by its bold concept of a world stricken by mass infertility. Living as I do in a highly populated country where a woman who does not bear children has often to suffer social stigmatisation, I was at once fascinated by the theme. The author embroiders the subject with some fanciful but quite plausible images of women cosseting toys instead of non-existent children and celebrating lavishly the birthdays of kittens. The pity of it, Iago! The people in this childless world are looked after well by the dictator who rules the country but man is never a satisfied animal and up springs a rebel group who strikes the iron hand as it were. The dissidents draw into their fold someone who is close to the Warden as the ruler is called (how and when the political system in England changed I don't know!), someone who is the narrator of the story. Is their charter of demands conceded? Will man disappear from the face of the earth leaving ``not a wrack behind''? Isn't there a ray of hope for man? All that forms the rest of the story. The novel is written in two narrative styles: first person as well as the omniscient third person. The first person narrative is in the form of pages from a diary: the dates are from the opening decades of the next century. I did a little bit of checking and found that the days as given by the author for her dates are quite correct. My admiration for an author who takes care of the minutiae. The later chapters where a chase occurs tend to drag on and there is little suspenseful action here but that is more than compensated by the very deft handling of prose to which I alluded in the beginning of this review. The book is and is not science fiction; it is and is not a thriller. While reading about a world in which man's needs are all satisfied I was strongly reminded of Arthur C. Clarke's ``Childhood's End'', written in the Fifties. In sum, full marks to P.D. James for a wry look at the futuristic world.