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The List Hardcover – 8 Aug 2017
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"An electric sci-fi novel with a strong ecological and moral stance." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"[A] gripping postapocalyptic thriller... it is a well-crafted page-turner, as well as a compelling commentary on censorship and the role of language, while also inviting discussion about what distinguishes humans from animals. For dystopian fiction aficionados, this well-paced entry offers plenty of food for thought.
" - School Library Journal
"Forde's pacing and characterization are compelling... An intriguing speculation about authoritarian futures with a terrific cover." - Kirkus
"Forde's exploration of language as both weapon and savior is a noble one, and environmental undertones bolster its power. Pair with Patrick Ness' The Knife of Never Letting Go.
" - Booklist
"This novel could be compared Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember (Random House, 2003) where the corrupt government controls the necessities of life."" - School Library Connection
"Patricia Forde crafts a richly imagined future society, the development of which feels all too plausible in today's climate... This is a story with a message and a purpose, one full of relevance and originality. With this novel, Forde reminds us that words do hold power, both to heal and to destroy, and that because of this we should be mindful of how we employ them. This is a love letter to the ways love and art can lift our spirits and replenish our souls in a world that often seems dark.
" - BookPage
"compelling to readers of all ages, The List is a spellbinding book about language, the environment, and humanity's role in protecting them both...A beautiful and absorbing read you won't soon forget." - Bustle.com
About the Author
PATRICIA FORDE lives in Galway, in the west of Ireland. She has published five books for children and written for television. In another life, she was a primary school teacher and the artistic director of Galway Arts Festival. Visit Patricia at patriciaforde.com.
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In order to believe in this dystopian world, the reader has to go along with the premise that the founder of the Ark, John Noa, has decided that language and words were the cause of humanity’s downfall. He feels that if only humanity is limited to the most basic of communication, they will be nearer the state of animals. He thinks is a great idea – for animals do not harm the planet, or plot and deceive each other. Only mankind is capable of that – because of the lies he can spin with his words. Initially I wasn’t sure this was going to work, but overall I think that Forde has built a convincing case for Noa’s beliefs. Like many charismatic leaders, Noa becomes caught up in his own rhetoric and needs to continue to push the community to make ever more extreme changes as everyone falls short of his grandiose schemes to return humanity to a pristine state.
Forde effectively raises the stakes and it doesn’t take much for this fragile, brutalised community to be tipped into unrest, as events drive Letta ever forward with some plot twists along the way. The climax of the story works very well, though for the more experienced reader, there aren’t a lot of major surprises as the overall story arc follows a well-trodden path. That said, this is aimed at children who haven’t necessarily read much in this genre and it raises some interesting issues regarding the role of language in the development and organisation of human society. If you enjoy dystopian, post-apocalyptic worlds, then this one is worth tracking down.
While I obtained the arc of The List from the publisher via NetGalley, this has in no way influenced my unbiased review.
The concept (restricted language) is both terrifying and tempting. If you read it on a day that you've enjoyed beauty - a walk, time with a loved one, art - the notion of just 500 words seems criminal and insane. That said, if you read it on a day that you've also watched corrupt media and politicians (naming no names), it's easy to see the allure of limiting language so that people can no longer lie and manipulate so readily. This is why the story is so rounded: as a reader, you keep changing your mind.
I want to read it for a second time and I need my friends to read it, too, so we can debate the concept!
As a teacher, I can see a great deal of potential for this book in my classroom.
(Originally reviewed for NetGalley.com)
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