Red Clocks will make you angry, and if it doesn't, then you're reading the book wrong. Red Clocks is a story that sounds too familiar (wow, the government is trying to police women's bodies AGAIN), but is somehow fresh (so many new laws that are all so awful and dehumanizing). You will become attached to the characters because they remind you of your sister, or your aunt, or your best friend. Heck, sometimes they'll even remind you of YOU. Zumas has written a classic that you won't be able to put down. Well, unless you get to a really good part and just happen to throw it against the wall and it hits the floor. Recommended By Katherine M., Powells.com
Carefully revealing the stark realities of losing personal freedoms, Red Clocks is a story that fits exactly into its time. Following the lives of the biographer, the wife, the daughter, the mender, and the explorer, Zumas exposes the danger of fringe ideals becoming mainstream. Quiet, spare, and skillfully written, Red Clocks feels important, urgent, and terrifying. It is the nightmare you dread; you feel it hovering over you and pressing down. One of the best books of 2018, this novel is excellent. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Red Clocks follows four women, the Mender, the Mother, the Daughter, and the Biographer, as they move through pregnancies, motherhood, and infertility in an America that has outlawed most forms of reproductive freedom. Despite this political background, the novel's central focus is on the internal legislation that governs motherhood — not the laws enacted by Congress, but the joys and recriminations every woman feels regarding pregnancy and motherhood. As the Mother, Mender, Daughter and Biographer show — in utterly compelling, distinct voices — there's no simple narrative governing the choice to carry, birth, abort or adopt a child. Each choice is fraught, and intimately tied to a self-determination constantly under threat not just from outsiders, but from our own flawed and evolving ideas of what a woman should be, or want.
Recommended By Rhianna W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A National Bestseller
A New York Times Editor's Choice
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
An Indie Next Pick
One of Wall Street Journal's Twelve Books to Read This Winter
An Esquire most anticipated book of 2018
An Elle Best Book of Winter
A Popsugar Most Anticipated Book of Fall
A Ploughshares Most Anticipated Book of Fall
A Nylon Best Book of the Month
Five women. One question. What is a woman for?
In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.
Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivor, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro's best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling herbalist, or "mender," who brings all their fates together when she's arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.
Red Clocks is at once a riveting drama, whose mysteries unfold with magnetic energy, and a shattering novel of ideas. In the vein of Margaret Atwood and Eileen Myles, Leni Zumas fearlessly explores the contours of female experience, evoking The Handmaid's Tale for a new millennium. This is a story of resilience, transformation, and hope in tumultuous — even frightening — times.
"Zumas's novel is a reckoning, a warning, and nothing short of a miracle. Don't miss it." Ploughshares
"Strange and lovely and luminous. I loved Red Clocks with my whole heart." Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners
"In an alarming peek into a dystopian future, a group of women navigates family and motherhood in an America that has outlawed abortion, in vitro fertilization, and adoption by single women. Each of the interwoven story lines is complex and heartbreaking in its own way, and overall it's a fascinating and unsettling exploration of the limits society can place on women's bodies." Samantha Irby, Marie Claire
"[A] lyrical and beautifully observed reflection on women's lives....Her cunning device of not revealing the name of each character in the sections she narrates grants us a multidimensional perspective on all four women, highlighting their roles in one another's stories. It's a beautiful metaphor for the interdependence of women's lives." Naomi Alderman, New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Leni Zumas is the author of the story collection Farewell Navigator and the novel The Listeners, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She is an associate professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Portland State University.