A chilling look into an alternate near future where a woman and her daughter seek refuge in a women-only colony, only to find that the safe haven they were hoping for is the most dangerous place they could be.
Miranda Reynolds always thought she would rather die than live in Femlandia. But that was before the country sank into total economic collapse and her husband walked out in the harshest, most permanent way, leaving her and her sixteen-year-old daughter with nothing. The streets are full of looting, robbing, and killing, and Miranda and Emma no longer have much choice—either starve and risk getting murdered, or find safety. And so they set off to Femlandia, the women-only colony Miranda’s mother, Win Somers, established decades ago.
Although Win is no longer in the spotlight, her protégé Jen Jones has taken Femlandia to new heights: The off-grid colonies are secluded, self-sufficient, and thriving—and Emma is instantly enchanted by this idea of a safe haven. But something is not right. There are no men allowed in the colony, but babies are being born—and they’re all girls. Miranda discovers just how the all-women community is capable of enduring, and it leads her to question how far her mother went to create this perfect, thriving, horrifying society.
My thoughts: this is not a feminist utopia. This is a nightmare. Honestly, what Miranda finds in her mother’s idealised world is shocking and grotesque, a perversion of a man-free place. In doing so she almost loses her daughter, who seems ripe for the brain washing the Femlandia leaders specialise in. But when you have nowhere else to go, you go home.
Clever, twisted and very reminiscent of our current times, with supermarket shortages and people losing their minds over stupid things (petrol, KFC chicken, loo roll, pick any recent insanity), despite being set in the US, this could be the UK in a few years time. Where people have reverted to their worst kind.
Christina Dalcher seems to specialise in these worst extreme dystopias, Q, her last book, really shocked me, but I could see exactly what she was getting at, and the same for this book – taking everything to the most extreme, twisted point of misandry and TERFy-ness, what’s supposed to be a safe harbour becomes a horror show.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.