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Divided Kingdom: A Novelby Rupert Thomson
Synopses & Reviews
Following The Book of Revelation — "a premise made terrifyingly real by a hugely talented writer," wrote The New York Times Book Review — Rupert Thomson now explores a radical social experiment in a novel both politically provocative and personally mesmerizing.
One night a boy who comes to be called Thomas Perry is taken from his family, caught up in a comprehensive unraveling of what had been a united kingdom. The powers that be — reacting to their country?s inexorable decline into consumerism, turpitude, racism, and violence — establish in its place four independent republics based on the perceived nature of the citizens assigned to each, and reinforce these new partitions with concrete barricades and razor wire. Renamed, relocated, and granted favored status, Thomas enjoys one success after another until, as a devoted civil servant, he suddenly falls out of the system entirely and travels illegally throughout a realm now utterly divided, his life in constant jeopardy. And by witnessing the best and worst and strangest of what society and human nature can offer, he begins to understand how little he knows of his true self or the desires and needs that define satisfaction and happiness for everyone.
A highly realistic portrait of a world that doesn?t exist, but which bears odd, unsettling resemblances to our own, this is fiction of supreme originality and accomplishment.
"Thomson's latest dystopian novel (after The Book of Revelation) begins in brilliant, unsettling fashion when a young boy is taken by government decree from his parents during the initial stages of the Rearrangement, which occurs in a totalitarian, near-future England. In this brave new world, the country's entire population is forcibly reorganized and relocated into autonomous zones according to psychology, or the four humors: choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic and sanguine. Placed in an orphanage, renamed Thomas Parry and transferred to a new family in the Red Quarter (for sanguine types), he settles in with a father overwhelmed by the loss of his relocated wife and a promiscuous sister desperate for human connection. As an adult, Thomas takes a clandestine job with the government, but soon risks being charged with 'undermining the state' when he begins a spur-of-the-moment voyage across borders in search, at first, of his real parents and his true self. Despite a cleverly imagined political system and the promise of sharp social criticism, this allegory limps to an ending that belies its inspired start. Agent, Amanda Urban. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Most impressive... is the subtle control of tone, which makes satire and adventure, comedy and grief seem all of a piece." The New Statesman
"Thomson's novel buzzes with originality, sparking contemporary connections and even Gulliver's Travels." The Observer
"Divided Kingdom is a fabulous romp, an epic adventure story of flight and threat, fear and wonder, shipwrecks, espionage and breathless chase-scenes." The Indipendent
"Thomson's relentlessly compelling and enormously impressive seventh novel...simultaneously confronts its junior characters with a futuristic, totalitarian nightmare and with the echoes of a barbaric, superstitious past." The Telegraph
Following his highly acclaimed The Book of Revelation, Thomson now explores a radical social experiment in a novel compelling for its brilliant improvisation of a political future and its timeless grasp of individual lives.
About the Author
The author of six previous novels?most recently, The Book of Revelation — Rupert Thomson was born in England and now lives with his wife and their daughter in Barcelona.
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