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Daughters of the North Kindle Edition

38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Chronicling a journey of violence, oppression and fleeting liberation, this brutal third novel from the author of The Electric Michelangelo is a timely feminist commentary on war, gender, politics and identity. Set in a dystopian near-future northern U.K. where global warming, a fuel crisis, drug epidemics and a cruel totalitarian regime known as the Authority have savaged the land and people, the story is told by Sister, a young woman living in cramped terrace quarters. Sterilized against her will (the result of the Authority's female sterilization policy) and forced to work in a New Fuel factory, Sister escapes to seek out Carhullan, a shadowy all-female commune run by the enigmatic Jackie Nixon. Carhullan is a hard-knocks utopia, in which women's strengths and passions grow from manual labor, paramilitary training and intense, sometimes sexual, friendships. As the threat of the Authority grows, Sister rises in the ranks of the Carhullan resistance force, oblivious to the increasing similarities between the Authority and Jackie's seductive, psychological control. Though the climax and denouement are sloppily handled, the overall effect is haunting, timely and well wrought. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“The heroine of Sarah Hall’s novel is known only as Sister. She, like Hall’s prose, is raw, brave, and suprising, both to herself and to the reader...The book is remarkable for its lovingly accurate portrayal of women…the themes it raises are powerful in the present.”

Product Details

  • File Size: 477 KB
  • Print Length: 209 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (October 13, 2009)
  • Publication Date: October 13, 2009
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00166YCBA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,281 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ashley K on May 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
This novel was ok, but I felt a little let down - I was expecting much better from an author shortlisted for the Booker, although maybe my expectations were part of the problem.

It started off well, and the concept of the dystopian society she creates is intriguing and a bit frightening. Some of the events and ideas, like the contraceptive coils, make you think about where society may be heading. Overall, Hall writes well, but I found myself a little bored with her descriptions. There are scenes where she definitely suffers from telling-instead-of-showing-syndrome. I just couldn't really bring myself to care very much about the protagonist, Sister, or really any of the other characters.

The ending was pretty anti-climactic, and felt like a cop-out - you'll see what I mean when you get there. Overall it wasn't very powerful, which is something I would expect from a dystopian novel like this. When the end came, I was unimpressed. I anticipated something really thought-provoking that would have me lying awake the next three nights thinking about it, but this one just didn't do it. It starts off strong, but loses is punch along the way.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peaches on August 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
I thought this was excellent. Definitely not your light-hearted beach read, but still, I couldn't put it down and was up late 2 nights in a row trying to finish it. I am just guessing that the writer accomplished what she had hoped, with me at least. It made me think more deeply about our world--pollution, conflict, terrorism, war, food shortages, genocide and how we react to all these things. The importance of gender equality, standing up for your beliefs.....I could go on and on. I found the characters interesting and "Sister" likeable. I especially enjoyed her journey to a strong and healthy warrior, even though part of me found it sad. The ending was a bit abrupt, but I think it was because addt'l info wasn't necessary and perhaps would've distracted from the poignancy of the ending.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kisabel on May 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
Reminiscent of (but inferior to) the Handmaid's Tale - an interesting take on a radically dystopian & totalitarian future society. Other Amazon reviewers have referenced global warming as the source of the unnamed environmental disaster, but the book itself does not specify this. Actually, the book is vague on most of the details about how Britain came to suffer this horrible fate.

Good story, interesting & strong female characters. A bit heavy-handed, and the ending feels cut short. There more to this story than the author chose to tell - the book skips over the time between our "heroines" planning their rebellion to the end of the battle, which I found quite unsatisfying.

Overall interesting, but I would borrow from the library instead of purchase.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
In the near future in the United Kingdom global warming has made this once proud place into wetlands. The climate change accompanied by a critical fuel shortage has led to the establishment of an abusive totalitarian rule. The Authority uses the guise of security to kill anyone who opposes them; they use fuel shortages to control population with enforced sterilization; they encourage drug addiction to keep the masses ignorant of their plight. If innocents are hurt so be it as collateral damage occurs.

The Authority sterilized Sister against her will. They made her work in a "New Fuel" factory in conditions that makes Dickens' Victorian tales look like fairy tales. She is assigned cramped quarters. Sister wants out feeling that if she can make it to legendary Carhullan, an all-female commune she can survive. Run by Jackie Nixon with discipline to foster strengths, the paramilitary group is outlawed by the Authority who plans to destroy these Amazon rebels.

Although the ending is too obvious for such a complex thought provoking tale, readers will appreciate this powerful near future thriller that extrapolates from Katrina and the Christmas Tsunami. However, it is not the environmental disaster that holds the reader's attention; it is the heroine and how she sees the world. Sister believes the Authority is evil from her position in the ooze below their food chain; she thinks of Carhullan as freedom fighters from her rising up their chain towards the top. Ironically she is unable to accept how similar the two groups are in their ruthless use of expendables to achieve their respective goals. With obvious comparison to the Mideast, DAUGHTERS OF THE NORTH is a terrific futuristic thriller.

Harriet Klausner
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Katrina on May 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book has become one of my absolute favorites. The story telling is phenomenally direct yet composed. The plot runs a little thick and close to home, makes you want to loosen your collar a little bit and seriously consider all those jokes you've made about moving to another country. For any woman who has ever wanted to cry out in defiance, this book will soothe you. My only caution is this is not a light beach read; it's a little rough in subject matter in parts and I would not recommend it to young adult readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By propertius on May 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book can be read on many levels and unfortunately read into (incorrectly) many ways. A fable about misogyny, global warming, dystopian society, hetero- homosexual, lesbian love, marriage, family. Alright, it may touch many of these bases, but the the greatest accomplishment of this novel is the evocative atmosphere and the characters who are living in it and are influenced by it.

"Sister," the protagonist is transformed before our eyes on each page as are the other characters throughout the book. The haunting mileau of a futuristic northern England is almost unique and the reader will feel that he has actually lived there. The book must be closely read to be fully experienced (oh cliches!) but how better to suggest its finely tuned qualities (try explaining the effect of any music on the listener).

Of course, the pretensions of a world so convuluted in all manners, that has been the seemingly logical end of our present world, are re-enforced by Ms. Hall's examination not only of what might happen in the future, but what might happen beyond that future. I almost expected to find Sappho singing on a rocky hillside singing this fable (I hope she would not be too cold in the northern clime).
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