Wall

288 pages

English language

Published Nov. 10, 2019 by Faber & Faber, Incorporated.

ISBN:
978-0-571-29873-0
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4 stars (15 reviews)

7 editions

Exemplary climate fiction

5 stars

(em português → sol2070.in/2024/04/ficcao-climatica-the-wall/ )

John Lanchester's “The Wall” (2019) is a powerful piece of climate fiction. Without didacticism, it throws us straight into the dystopia, decades in the future, of "an island nation, something like England" where all young people, including women, have to serve two years in the military at a wall that has closed off the country.

We follow young Joseph Kavanagh from his first day in the service to developments that go far beyond the initial premise.

For those unfamiliar with the consequences of the current climate emergency, there is a certain mystery and suspense. The causes that led to the situation or the nature of the main threat are only commented on indirectly. Because the scenario, from the narrator's point of view, doesn't need to be explained.

Even so, being familiar with the predictions of what will happen in a decade or two is not …

A Possible Future, and a Depressing One

4 stars

With the seas rising, an unnamed area surrounds itself with a barrier wall to keep out both the sea, and the people outside who are barely surviving on boats and rafts. Without spoilers, I’ll say that readers get to see both sides of this wall.

There are so many correlations between the dystopian world of The Wall and today’s world of class division, and fear of ‘the other’. It’s allegory, satire, and warning all in one.

Grim, but fascinating.

Review of 'Wall' on 'Goodreads'

1 star

It's cold on The Wall. And damp. And boring. Sooo boring.
And a good writer can express to the reader how boring something is without making the reader bored. We know what boredom is. We don't like it. So don't make us experience it.
The third act gets a little better, but just when there's about to be something interesting... there isn't. And it's over.
I only finished the book out of stubbornness because it's not very long. (And I was reading a more entertaining book at the same time.) But even in its brevity, it was a struggle to get through.

Edit: I just saw this was longlisted for the Booker. What?!

Review of 'The Wall' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

It is all too easy to accept the world created by Lanchester in this novel set in a post climate disaster dystopia. The setting is not too far fetched, particularly when you look at the medieval instincts those in power have signed onto around the world over the last several years. But the realism at work in this novel goes beyond its fantasy scenario and expresses itself through the inner life of the protagonist, which I would argue is the real story Lanchester is telling.

Kavanagh is an alienated figure, in the Marxist sense. He is disconnected from agency over his existence, from the acts of violence he must commit for his job (training "takes over"), from the ability to define his relationships with the people around him, even from the very passage of time, which is mostly a torture of duration. All of this is a result of living …

Review of 'The Wall' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Besides the good story, well told, this book is a masterclass in how to structure and pace a novel. The author clearly knows how to edit, as this is just the right length. So many books start well, but outstay their welcome. It is a cracking good read.

The story is familiar to anyone who enjoys dystopian speculative fiction (Atwood et al.). It echoes the recent BBC Radio 4 play 'Borderland' (www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08dnhjx), with themes of migration and what happens when nationalism and nativism lead governments into unravelling the social contract. One of the points of the book is that if we allow our government to treat 'the Others' as undesirables without rights, then in so doing we enable a process whereby our own rights are discarded. The distinction between us (with comfort and prosperity) and the others (facing insecurity and death) becomes a bureaucratic distinction. Too easily, we …

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Subjects

  • Fiction, dystopian
  • Great britain, fiction
  • Fiction, political