The wall A novel

John Lanchester

Book - 2019

"The best-selling author of The Debt to Pleasure and Capital returns with a chilling fable for our time. Ravaged by the Change, an island nation in a time very like our own has built the Wall--an enormous concrete barrier around its entire border. Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are trapped amid the rising seas outside and attack constantly. Failure will result in death or a fate perhaps worse: being ...put to sea and made an Other himself. Beset by cold, loneliness, and fear, Kavanagh tries to fulfill his duties to his demanding Captain and Sergeant, even as he grows closer to his fellow Defenders. And then the Others attack. . . . Acclaimed British novelist John Lanchester, "a writer of rare intelligence" (Los Angeles Times), delivers a taut dystopian novel that blends the most compelling issues of our time--rising waters, rising fear, rising political division--into a suspenseful story of love, trust, and survival"--

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Subjects
Genres
Dystopias
Dystopian fiction
Published
New York : W. W. Norton & Company 2019.
Edition
First American edition
Language
English
Physical Description
254 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781324001638
1324001631
Main Author
John Lanchester (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

With the relentless advance of climate change, more and more speculative fiction authors are taking up the challenge of envisioning future scenarios in which environmental devastation has taken its toll on human civilization. In Lanchester's (Capital, 2012) version of this premise, one still-intact island nation has closed itself off from the rest of the world with a heavily guarded wall, protecting them from the desperate Others trying to get in. Lanchester's first-person narrator is a newly enlisted soldier, Kavanagh, whose tour of duty as a wall defender becomes a life-altering experience. Thrown into a world of ubiquitous, concrete, monotonous routine and nonstop icy sea winds, Kavanagh remains keenly aware at all times that, if an Other gets in, the responsible defender must join the Others. His biggest consolations are his growing friendships with Hifa, an androgynous fellow defender, and his stalwart captain as they face their worst nightmares when they are stranded outside the wall. Beautifully written and chillingly plausible, Lanchester's work is dystopian fiction at its finest. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Lanchester (Capital) imagines coming of age amid the xenophobia and despair of a world ravaged by climate change in his dynamite dystopian novel. Twenty-something Joseph Kavanagh arrives for his mandatory two-year service as a Defender of the Wall surrounding his coastal country. It has survived the massive ecological devastation and sea level rise known as the Change, and its Defenders kill anyone from outside (known as Others) who tries to enter. Kavanagh suffers bracing cold, prolonged tedium, and the exacting demands of his company's captain amid the fear of attack; any Defenders who fail are put out to sea. He gets to know his fellow soldiers and develops an incipient crush on androgynous and initially taciturn Hifa. After a war games training, a young politician warns the Defenders of rumors that the Others are increasingly desperate and some inside the country have been treasonously plotting ways to help them. Cracking under pressure, Hifa offers to have a child with Kavanagh, as parents receive a reprieve from duty, but their plans are obliterated by a surprise attack that has devastating consequences. This terrifyingly resonant depiction of desperation will spark lively discussions about the responsibilities climate change is restructuring, and is electrifying storytelling to boot. (Mar.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"The best-selling author of The Debt to Pleasure and Capital returns with a chilling fable for our time. Ravaged by the Change, an island nation in a time very like our own has built the Wall--an enormous concrete barrier around its entire border. JosephKavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are trapped amid the rising seas outside and attack constantly. Failure will result in death or a fate perhaps worse: being put to sea andmade an Other himself. Beset by cold, loneliness, and fear, Kavanagh tries to fulfill his duties to his demanding Captain and Sergeant, even as he grows closer to his fellow Defenders. And then the Others attack. . . . Acclaimed British novelist John Lanchester, "a writer of rare intelligence" (Los Angeles Times), delivers a taut dystopian novel that blends the most compelling issues of our time--rising waters, rising fear, rising political division--into a suspenseful story of love, trust, and survival"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

When the island nation of an Earth-like world builds a concrete barrier around its entire coastline, a Defender charged with protecting his section of the Wall from desperate Others trapped outside begins questioning the political divides of his insular existence.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

When the island nation of an Earth-like world builds a concrete barrier around its entire coastline, a Defender charged with protecting his section of the Wall from the desperate Others trapped outside begins questioning the political divides of his insular existence.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Ravaged by the Change, an island nation in a time very like our own has built the Wall—an enormous concrete barrier around its entire coastline. Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are trapped amid the rising seas outside and are a constant threat. Failure will result in death or a fate perhaps worse: being put to sea and made an Other himself. Beset by cold, loneliness, and fear, Kavanagh tries to fulfill his duties to his demanding Captain and Sergeant, even as he grows closer to his fellow Defenders. A dark part of him wonders whether it would be interesting if something did happen, if they came, if he had to fight for his life…New York TimesLos Angeles TimesThe Wall

Review by Publisher Summary 5

NPRFinancial TimesThe Debt to PleasureCapital