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Review: Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Genesis by Bernard Beckett
Published by Quercus
Challenge: None
Source: Own copy (UK Hardback)

“What does it mean to be human?” The answer lies within the mystery of Genesis. Set in a postapocalyptic future, the novel takes the form of an examination undergone by young Anaximander as she prepares to enter an enigmatic institution known simply as The Academy. For her subject she has chosen the life of the philosopher-soldier Adam Forde, her long-dead hero. It is through Anax’s presentation and her answers to persistent questioning by her examiners that we learn the history of her island Republic, along with the rules and beliefs of their society. At the completion of the examination, when everything has been laid bare, Anax must confront the Republic’s last great secret, her own surprising link to Adam Forde, and the horrifying truth about her world.
Like the great writers Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick, Bernard Beckett explores the relationship between humans and technology in a brilliantly rendered novel that will keep readers guessing until the final page.


This book is very strange and turned out to be really bleak by the end. It is very clever as well and I'm not sure I have got my head round it yet.

The book had a strange format in that it is a record of a 4 hour interview of a girl who hopes to get into the academy that runs her closed society set in the near future after an apocalyptic disaster has wiped out most of humanity during which she is required to talk about her specialised subject: Adam Forde an historical figure she looks up to like a hero.

The thing I liked best about this book was that it talked a lot about the nature of History, what it is, how it can be interpreted, changed and influenced. As I said it is quite clever in how it is written and it questions a lot about the nature of society and philosophy and really gives you a lot of think about. My advice is do not pick it up and expect an easy entertaining read - this book certainly isn't that.

The ending of this was quite surprising, I certainly didn't see it coming and sat quite stunned at the end at the bleakness of it all (certainly not the happy Christmas reading I had envisaged for Christmas day!!)


serendipity_viv said…
It does sound a bit bleak for Christmas day. I haven't ever heard of this one, shall keep an eye out for it.
prophecygirl said…
I absolutely love this book. It's bleak, yes, but so brilliant. The format, writing, conclusion - everything. So so good!