THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER • ONE OF ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY'S AND SHEREADS' BOOKS TO READ AFTER THE HANDMAID'S TALE
“[An] electrifying debut.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
“The real-life parallels will make you shiver.”—Cosmopolitan
Set in a United States in which half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.
Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard.
For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.
This is just the beginning...not the end.
One of Good Morning America's “Best Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer”
One of PopSugar, Refinery29, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Real Simple, i09, and Amazon's Best Books to Read in August 2018
In her provocative debut, linguist Dalcher imagines a near future in which speech and language or the withholding thereof are instruments of control. The election of a conservative president with a charismatic (and psychotic) religious advisor is merely the final straw in a decades-long trend toward repression and authoritarianism. For years, cognitive linguist Jean McClellan, a well-educated white woman, chose to immerse herself in academia rather than become politically active, even as signs of authoritarianism were proliferating. Now, however, a year after the election, women in the United States have been limited to speaking no more than 100 words per day or face painful consequences. When the President's brother suffers an accident that affects his brain's speech centers, Jean might be able to leverage her expertise to restore her status. Dalcher's narrative raises questions about the links between language and authority; most chilling is the specter of young girls being starved of language and, consequently, the capacity to think critically. The novel's muddled climax and implausible denouement fail to live up to its intriguing premise. Nevertheless, Dalcher's novel carries an undeniably powerful message.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Vox (Christina Dalcher)
In the era of Trump, the alt-right and Christian fundamentalism, Dalchers neo-feminist thriller is chilling. It reads like a worthy companion novel to The Handmaids Tale given a similar premise but a novel form of oppression.
Moral of the story: Women should blame religious conservatives for their problems.
Before I start ranting about everything wrong with this book, I just want to take a moment to mention it’s 1 redeeming quality: it’s a quick read.
While Dread Nation was cashing in on social relevance, and Children of Blood and Bone was riding the success of Black Panther (although the hype surrounding it kind of hid that fact). Vox one-ups them by doing both at the same time. Capitalizing on feminism, and unashamedly riding the success of The Handmaid’s Tale.
When I explained the premise of Vox to a coworker of mine, even she said: “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Yep, a girl said that. Her exact words.
Women are only allowed to speak 100 words per day, and exceeding that limit results in an electric shock from a mechanical wristband keeping track of said words.
...and that’s about as far as the story concept went. The author knew she wanted to write a story about women being oppressed, which is fine. But seriously? THAT’S what you came up with. This book would’ve been better off going with some Planet of the Apes style nonsense, where the protagonist finds herself in a new land where women aren’t just oppressed, but are full on enslaved. If anything it would’ve been more exciting.
And yet somehow, the basic premise of the story isn’t even its biggest flaw.
The world building in this is unbelievable, and not in the good way. I mean it’s literally NOT believable. Even ignoring the absurdity that our society would allow such a drastic change in civil rights given our current real world views, it’s world building at its absolute worst. And for those of you who are saying “but it’s not our world, it’s a dystopian society,” keep reading.
The first half of this book is littered with pop culture references, from FIOS to the iPhone, from South Park to Pokémon Go. It even throws in real life historical events such as the Nazis and Rwanda. Having all of these real world inclusions only breaks down the illusion of a dystopian society. I think it’s fair to say that if women’s speech we’re limited to such an extreme, we wouldn’t have a lot of the things we enjoy today and history would’ve played out a lot differently.
It’s almost like, instead of actually taking the time to world build, the author just decided to take our real world and give it a new reality. Except her new reality doesn’t make sense within the world she’s trying to fit it into. (I think that made sense).
Also, a side-note that was just kind of bugging me: If the church, and/or a religious faction, were able to amass so much power as to be able to remove the constitutional rights of women, I’m pretty sure, of all things, South Park probably wouldn’t be around anymore.
Given the timeframe this book is coming out, I don’t doubt it will be a success. But I do believe it will be for the wrong reasons.
Better than flash fiction but...
Story and premise are thought provoking, if not plausible(?). Pretty decent character and plot development. 3 stars as I feel, particularly for a linguist, the scatological language was distracting and unnecessary.