Saturday, 31 December 2011

Book #100 Genus by Jonathan Trigell


As Genus stands proudly as Book #100 of the 100 books in a year challenge, I am glad of it, and glad I was able to finish on a high note. Genus by Jonathan Trigell, the acclaimed writer of Boy A is a great book, so good that halfway through it I messaged my one of my best friends on Facebook to tell her to get it whilst it remains 99p for the Kindle on Amazon.

Genus takes as its concept, a dystopian future London. A scientist who renamed himself Prometheus has taken the concept of the designer baby to its zenith. "Improving" ones genetics, buying add-ons and building ones child from the ground up, but, this kind of technology comes at a price, and has created an alarming new social scale, the rich, are now also the most beautiful, the healthiest and the most talented, what is left is the "scum" the disabled, the defective, and the working poor,  coralled into small areas of Britain, unprovided for.

The novel focuses on London's Kings Cross, now The Kross and  a variety of characters from this underworld: Dwarf artist Holman, policeman Gunt, drug runner Valentine, blind war veteran Crick, gang member Quigley and assorted other people from the social bottom rung, and a select few from  the top.

This novel was published at the end of July this year and would have been written and complete to go to press some months before that. Therefore Trigell himself must have been chilled to the bone when a section of the novel which now seems more like premonition than future prediction  came true on the streets of London in August. In an eerie replica of the summer riots, shops are looted and buildings burned out, this isn't a vision of things to come, the future is now. I think it was this section of the novel which tipped it over into "something special" land for me, I mean it's so on the pulse it's living. In addition, the characters are likeable, particularly Gunt and Holman, so as to hold your attention upon the novel. I was already imagining the movie version with Peter Dinklage that would be brilliant.

The eradication of genetic defect seems like a marvellous thing the future could grant us, but Trigell truly succeeds in making clear the very dark end game involved in meddling with nature, belief in God or otherwise with a cracking warning shot from our own history at its close.

I am so glad that Genus was my final book of 2011 so I could end on a high. Read Genus Please. 10/10

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