Published by: Little, Brown and Company
ISBN 13: 9780349134215
Published: May 2014
Format reviewed: paperback
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Four out of Five
‘The Girl in the Road’ by Monica Byrne is a confusing, excellent dystopian – one of those books that’s difficult to explain because of the type of book it is. Set in the near future it’s split between two times and locations and quantifies how life is about both birth and dying, life and death.
We have two characters, Mariama and Meena. Mariama is caravaning to Ethiopia, and Meena is travelling over the Arabian Sea from India to Ethiopia also. The start is hectic and disjointed, effectively setting the tone for the whole novel in an enticing way that draws you in.
We then have a novel that’s a nest of religion, pilgrimage, sexuality and what one will live or die for. It’s a dirty, fearful and angry story at times, cynical about the world and its cruelty.
It’s excellent to have African and Indian characters and a non-western setting, and one hopes that publishers come to support diversity much more in what they publish.
One of the small qualities of this book that I really enjoyed to see, was that we mostly see the same technology we have today, advanced in subtle ways and expanded upon.
It’s interesting to see this book marketed more as general lit fiction, rather than as dystopian. The cover and the presentation of the book are making those who would not often touch dystopian with a ten-foot-pole reach for it, so it’s good to see there may be more interest in the genre beyond the YA or science fiction market.
This certainly seems like one of the books that shall be long-lasting in the attention of books of note, and it’s certainly worthy of that title.
There is only one reason I would hesitate to recommend this book to others, and that is because of a certain scene within the book. Those who need trigger warnings are free to ask me for more details, but I would prefer not to go into detail in this entry without warning. The author’s blog also discusses this certain scene, and I highly recommend you take a peek before reading.