The Book of the Unnamed Midwife is yet another dystopian novel. Acknowledged or not, the fear of a catastrophic event (whatever the cause--war, EMP, plague, climate disaster, zombies, etc.) appears to linger in the collective subconscious.
In this case a plague that kills quickly and with a greater preponderance of women changes the world in a frightening way. Women become commodities. This is not the first dystopian book with the premise of very few women and the struggles to possess them.
Told mostly through journal entries by the unnamed midwife, the story follows the midwife as she quickly realizes the few women who have survived have become prey and dons men's clothing, builds her strength, and searches for safety in a world that has lost its civilized behavior. She appears to be the only bright light in a world gone dark. Now that IS frightening.
The first of the book was more interesting than the latter portion and the journal entries were pretty simplistic for an educated woman. Men are almost completely without honor, integrity, or intelligence. While certainly this primitive aspect of human beings would be a problem in such a situation, the dearth of men with any foresight or sense of humanity was a problem for me. Not only did the plague take a disproportionately large number of women (even the women who survived tended to die in childbirth and initially, no babies survived), but it also took a disproportionately large number of men with brains, commonsense, or compassion. I hate to think that the only men who survive would be so deprived of humanity.
First published in 2014, the book is scheduled for re-release in October, and the author is apparently working on a sequel.
Read in Aug.; review scheduled for Sept. 29
Dystopian. 2014; Oct. 11, 2016. Print length: 300 pages.