SHORTLISTED FOR THE INAUGURAL ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL FICTION
‘Intense, beautifully crafted . . . Her talent is electric. Get ready for a shock’ Guardian
This is a work of fiction. Keep telling yourself that.
America has changed. For women, it has changed for the worse.
Ro, a single high-school teacher, is desperate to become a mother. But with IVF now illegal – along with abortion and other reproductive rights – parenthood looks increasingly unlikely for her. Her best friend Susan is trapped in a failing marriage with two children, her star student Mattie is unwillingly pregnant and Gin, an outcast offering other women natural remedies, has become the centre of a modern-day witch-hunt.
With warmth, wit and ferocious inventiveness, Red Clocks shows us an all-too plausible near-future: like The Handmaid’s Tale, it is a call to arms, set to become a modern classic.
‘Intense, beautifully crafted…Her talent is electric. Get ready for a shock’ Guardian
‘Timing is everything – and the release of Red Clocks couldn’t be more apt’ Grazia
‘A fearless novel with a frightening premise that seems plausible. One for fans of Naomi Alderman’s The Power’ Stylist
‘Lyrical and beautifully observed … highly absorbing’ Naomi Alderman, author of The Power
‘Necessary and so of the moment … this is your go-to book in 2018’ Elle
‘Terrifyingly real’ The Pool
‘Vividly imagined’ Sunday Times
‘Sharp, bold, funny’ Esquire
‘Powerful, beautifully written (and, at times, wry and funny) … Red Clocks is set to become one of the essential reads for 2018’ Emerald Street
‘This provocative exploration of female longing, frustration and determination couldn’t be more timely, and yet there’s nothing fleeting about it … Zumas has written a novel that’s political without being doctrinaire, that expands the dimensions of our most pressing social debate’ Washington Post
‘The dystopian feminist novel for a new generation and a story that will rev you up to be part of the resistance’ Refinery29
‘In bristling sentences that strike with stunning efficiency, Leni Zumas shows girls and women defying the excruciating restrictions imposed by both law and culture. This is not only timely but necessary fiction—uncannily prescient, unabashedly political, and fiercely humane. We so desperately need books like this’ Emily Fridlund, author of History of Wolves
‘Hilarious, terrifying, and masterful–this pitch-perfect, timely novel reflects the horror and absurdity of our political landscape with a brilliance that ensures the book's timelessness. It's as riotously fun as it is chilling. Zumas has produced a poignant, wickedly sharp classic’ Alissa Nutting, author of Tampa
About the author
Leni Zumas is the author of the story collection Farewell Navigator and the novel The Listeners, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She is an associate professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Portland State University.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale: this novel is for you. Poetic, political and incredibly powerful, this tale is set in a dystopian future where abortion is illegal, IVF is banned and only heterosexual couples can adopt. Here, Leni Zumas examines womanhood through five women—Ro, Eivør, Susan, Mattie and Gin—and each courageous voice feels distinct through such vivid characterisation. As the intertwining stories unravel we discover how their womanhood is threatened by the laws. Prepare for chills in this compelling and haunting warning sign of a read.
Zumas (The Listeners) imagines a palpable, powerful alternate reality in which the United States has passed the Personhood amendment, reversing Roe v. Wade and making abortion a crime. Four women whose futures changed overnight with the passage of the amendment struggle for equality in rural Oregon. Roberta Stephens has chosen to pursue a teaching career and faces an uphill battle to have a child in an oppressively gendered system while writing a biography of an obscure female polar explorer named Eiv r Minervudottir. Roberta's star pupil is high school student Mattie Quarles, who, finding herself pregnant, makes a run for the Canadian border. Susan Korsmo, the wife of one of Roberta's colleagues, is quietly suffocating as an overburdened mother of two. Finally there is Gin Percival, a forest-dwelling "mender" providing illegal gynecological services until she is arrested for medical malpractice. As Gin's court proceedings devolve into a modern-day witch trial, the fates of these women converge with parallels to the life of Eiv r as they are pushed into a series of bold challenges to the masculine power structures that stifle them. Zumas manages a loose yet consistently engaging tone as she illustrates the extent to which the self-image of modern women is shaped by marriage, career, or motherhood. Dark humor further enhances the novel, making this a thoroughly affecting and memorable political parable.