The Children of Men Paperback – 5 Jan 2006
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"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)
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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
"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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lucid and gripping , somewhat different from the film ending though.Published 1 month ago by Tinmart
The format listed said CD, and this is the reason for purchase as I already had the audio tapes. when it arrived it was tapes.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
The ideas were fantastic, but the characters changed characterisation multiple times and the ending was hypocritical and unsatisfying. Not as good as I had hoped.Published 5 months ago by Jade
Not my usual type of book but was the book chosen by my book club. I loved it.Published 5 months ago by janet mcintyre
I'm not a reader of science fiction normally but this has a touch of reality and what could happen.
It grabbed me from the beginning. Read more
A fabulous book, one brimming with understanding of the human condition, dark humour, hope, and despair. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Joe Oak
Re-visited it after many years. I had forgotten what a good writer PD James was.Published 7 months ago by Anne Heywood