Lidia Yuknavitch uses the tropes of dystopian fiction to write something more, a story of spirit and body, of despair and hope, of something new rising from the destruction of the old. I had to read this book in pieces, stopping to allow myself emotional and mental digestion. This writer has brilliance and heart. Recommended By Doug C., Powells.com
Lidia Yuknavitch's post-apocalyptic retelling of Joan of Arc's story is flat-out brilliant. The earth is decimated and the only possibility of life is on the hovering stations suspended above the barren landscape. The stations are highly patrolled and the inhabitants are continuously watched; is this a life worth living? But, despite its ruin, there are two women left on the earth: Joan and Leone.
Exploring female relationships to each other, to men, and to their own bodies, Yuknavitch's tale is both chilling and comforting. A book about what it means to be human, what it means to be a woman, and how our bodies and souls connect and divide us, Yuknavitch's beautiful feminist story takes us back to a place before body and soul were separated. Stunning. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
A tyrant, a child warrior, a dying world, and an epic tale written in scars on skin. The Book of Joan, Lidia Yuknavitch's apocalyptic reimagining of the Joan of Arc story, is both feminist manifesto and Mother Earth war cry — ferocious, glorious, and exactly what we need to read right now. Recommended By Gigi L., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017, Elle Magazine
The 32 Most Exciting Books Coming Out in 2017, BuzzFeed
50 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2017, Nylon Magazine
33 New Books to Read in 2017, The Huffington Post
Most Anticipated, The Great 2017 Book Preview, The Millions
The bestselling author of The Small Backs of Children offers a vision of our near-extinction and a heroine — a reimagined Joan of Arc — poised to save a world ravaged by war, violence, and greed, and forever change history, in this provocative new novel.
In the near future, world wars have transformed the earth into a battleground. Fleeing the unending violence and the planet's now-radioactive surface, humans have regrouped to a mysterious platform known as CIEL, hovering over their erstwhile home. The changed world has turned evolution on its head: the surviving humans have become sexless, hairless, pale-white creatures floating in isolation, inscribing stories upon their skin.
Out of the ranks of the endless wars rises Jean de Men, a charismatic and bloodthirsty cult leader who turns CIEL into a quasi-corporate police state. A group of rebels unite to dismantle his iron rule — galvanized by the heroic song of Joan, a child-warrior who possesses a mysterious force that lives within her and communes with the earth. When de Men and his armies turn Joan into a martyr, the consequences are astonishing. And no one — not the rebels, Jean de Men, or even Joan herself — can foresee the way her story and unique gift will forge the destiny of an entire world for generations.
A riveting tale of destruction and love found in the direst of places — even at the extreme end of post-human experience — Lidia Yuknavitch's The Book of Joan raises questions about what it means to be human, the fluidity of sex and gender, and the role of art as a means for survival.
"Lidia Yuknavitch is a writer who, with each ever more triumphant book, creates a new language with which she writes the audacious stories only she can tell. The Book of Joan is a raucous celebration, a searing condemnation, and fiercely imaginative retelling of Joan of Arc’s transcendent life." Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist and An Untamed State
"A sci-fi, dystopic retelling of the Joan of Arc story, Yuknavitch’s latest feels particularly essential at this moment in history. But then, every time we read something by the immensely talented Yuknavitch, it feels particularly essential." Nylon Magazine
"Riveting, ravishing, and crazy deep, The Book of Joan is as ferociously intelligent as it is heart-wrenchingly humane, as generous as it is relentless, as irresistible as it is important. In other words, it’s classic Lidia Yuknavitch: genius." Cheryl Strayed, New York Times bestselling author of Wild
"Yuknavitch writes with her characteristic fusion of poetic precision and barbed ferocity, and the ingenuity of the world she creates astounds even in the face of the novel’s ambitiously messy sprawl. Perhaps even more astounding is Yuknavitch’s prescience: readers will be familiar with the figure of Jean de Men, a celebrity-turned–drone-wielding–dictator who first presided over the Wars on Earth and now lords over CIEL, having substituted ‘all gods, all ethics, and all science with the power of representation, a notion born on Earth, evolved through media and technology.’ A harrowing and timely entry into the canon of speculative fiction." Kirkus Reviews
"This ambitious novel encompasses a wide canvas to spin a captivating commentary on the hubris of humanity. An interesting blend of posthuman literary body politics and paranormal ecological transmutation; highly recommended." Library Journal (Starred Review)
About the Author
Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the National Bestselling novel The Small Backs of Children, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award's Ken Kesey Award for Fiction as well as the Reader's Choice Award, the novel Dora: A Headcase, and three books of short stories. Her widely acclaimed memoir The Chronology of Water was a finalist for a PEN Center USA award for creative nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award and the Oregon Book Award Reader's Choice. She founded the workshop series Corporeal Writing in Portland Oregon, where she also teaches Women's Studies, Film Studies, Writing, and Literature. She received her doctorate in Literature from the University of Oregon. Her novel The Book of Joan is forthcoming from Harper, as well as a book based on her recent TED Talk, The Misfit's Manifesto. She lives in Oregon with her husband Andy Mingo and their renaissance man son, Miles. She is a very good swimmer.
Lidia Yuknavitch on PowellsBooks.Blog
I don’t think I knew I was a writer in that “I am a writer” out loud sense until I was in my mid-20s. Even then I had my doubts. Though stories were pouring out of my fingers and head and heart, what I actually believed is that something might be wrong with me, because I could not stop the stories from coming...