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The Children of Men Paperback – 5 Jan 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; Export - Airside ed edition (5 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571228526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571228522
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 267,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A book of such accelerating tension that the pages seem to turn faster as one moves along." --"Chicago Tribune" "As scary and suspenseful as anything in Hitchcock." --"The New Yorker" "Extraordinary. . . . Daring. . . . Frightening in its implications." --"The New York Times" "Fascinating, suspenseful, and morally provocative. The characterizations are sharply etched and the narrative is compelling."--"Chicago Sun-Times" "Extraordinary ... daring ... frightening in its implications."--"The New York Times" "She writes like an angel. Every character is closely drawn. Her atmosphere is unerringly, chillingly convincing. And she manages all this without for a moment slowing down the drive and tension of an exciting mystery."--"The Times" (UK)

Book Description

The year is 2021. No child has been born for twenty-five years. The human race faces extinction. So begins The Children of Men, P.D. James's dystopian novel of mass infertility and chilling mystery. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Theo Faron is an uncomfortable hero, perhaps even an anti-hero. Beginning with Theo's diary entry for 1st January 2021, we are asked to empathise with a fifty year old man who has never loved, in spite of having been married and fathered a child. He writes with more warmth of the family cat, and turns his back on an old colleague in his hour of need. It's hardly surprising that Theo isn't exactly slitting his wrists at the idea of humankind dying out. He doesn't seem to like humans very much anyway.

All this changes, however - as so often happens - with the arrival of a beautiful woman, the oddly-named Julian, a pre-Raphaelite goddess with a misshapen hand. (The polar opposite of Julianne Moore's gung ho character in the film, if you've seen it.) Julian is one of a small group of would-be activists, wanted by the State Security Police. The moment that Theo's diary gives way to breathless ramblings about this nubile creature buying oranges in the supermarket, you know it's only a matter of time before he too is in trouble.

The book is divided into two sections - Omega and Alpha. Omega makes good use of the diary conceit to feed us the ghastly details of James's imagined Britain: desperate woman pushing dolls about in prams; christenings held for kittens; old people 'encouraged' to take their own lives. With this cowardly new world firmly established, book two - Alpha - cranks up the pace, with a cat and mouse pursuit through the countryside. A more traditional third-person narrative takes hold of the story when it's no longer safe enough for Theo to keep a diary. The violence is real and bloody, and some tight plotting saves plenty of surprises for the end.

Religious symbolism is there in spades if you want it.
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Format: Paperback
The premiss of this novel is without parallel to my knowledge; and for all its unfamiliarity it comes across as thoroughly convincing and moving both because of the skill and care taken over the presentation of its setting and because of the way James blends the outworking of its grim thesis with the timeless themes of "faith, hope and love."
"Sci-fi" is a total misdescription: it may be set in an hypothetical future, but this future is - deliberately - so close to the present that literal accuracy or technical prediction is clearly beside the point. Like "1984" and other dystopic visions, its strengths lie in its terrifying picture of a world which can be all too easily extrapolated from the commonplace realities of the world that we accept almost without question.
I've read and much enjoyed several of the author's Dalgliesh detective novels, but I have no hesitation in saying that this is a greater, more imaginative and probably more important work than any of them. It's one of those really rather few books that I can't imagine ever forgetting.
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By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
In a world where no child has been born for 25 years a small group of five rebels begin to plan to challenge the ruling dictatorship of England. But the five are far from united and seek help from Theo Faron, an academic who is the cousin of Xan the Warden of England. He believes there are many injustices and agrees to help them albeit reluctantly. He is also strongly attracted to Julian, a mysterious and lovely member of the group.

The Children of Men is a beautifully written dystopic novel The infertility has caused changes in attitudes and morality as the population becomes distorted. Many social issues are raised:
-"voluntary" suicides of the elderly
-indulgence of last born Omegas leading to criminality
-importation of other races to fill the labour gap but without being given any rights
-brutal suppression of criminals

The author also explores the way in which the regime in power wants to "do the right thing" but ends up prioritising policies and never quite coming to grips with the most serious problems.

A really interesting and thought provoking novel - and Theo is a great invention as the reluctant hero.
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By A Customer on 10 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a superb book. Compelling, intelligent, unpredictable and thought provoking. This isn't the usual PD James crime fiction, and it's not one of the Adam Dalgliesh books. This is PD James writing at her best examining raw human responses. I read this book when it was first published and the issues it raises still live with me.
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Format: Paperback
A nightmarish vision of a world in which man have become infertile, and the last child born 25 years ago, this is in some ways far away from James' crime fiction. The religious undertones well known from her crime, is here, though.
James shows us a world without hope, without motivation and compassion, with state-sanctioned (not to say demanded) eutanasia and with mindless violence. She also describes some of the practical problems of such a world.
Not mind-boggling, but a low-key sci-fi that should be of interest to readers of Orwell, Huxley, Burgess and others.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I lost interest half way through. I am a fan of early PD James but I am afraid this didn't hold me. I kept thinking, why would the British lose their entire moral compass just because they cant have babies? That just doesn't make any sense to me. I would have thought it would make people value life more. The book makes no attempt to explain why this should be and reverts to the predictable 'basically everyone who is in established power is horrible' world view.
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