American Neolithic

americanneocover-480x749.pngI remember reading Margaret Atwood’s THE HANDMAID’S TALE — back when it was first published, and again last year — and knowing in my gut why it’s so terrifying:  the story takes place in an imagined future that’s completely imaginable.  Completely possible. 

I got the same gut feeling while reading Terence Hawkins‘s new novel.  AMERICAN NEOLITHIC is a sharp, fast-paced satire exposing what our not-too-distant future might hold.  We’ve handed over our liberties, drones are on constant patrol, and Homeland Security has morphed into a full-on Homeland Police force — all because of our fear of the “other” and our obsession with national security.

Like I said, completely imaginable.

What I like most about this story is that it’s told so expertly from two perspectives, two opposing voices fighting for a common outcome. Raleigh is a sharp-tongued, sarcastic, and thoughtful lawyer who, for all his bravado, believes he has both the skills and the heart to help his client, the Neanderthal Blingbling, after he’s been charged with murder.

Hawkins boldly takes on our current views about terrorism and what a “terrorist” looks like; he takes on East Coast identity and paranoia; he shows us how easy it is for savvy politicians and those in power to convince us they know what’s best for us; and through the growth of Raleigh throughout this story, he pokes holes in our ideas of what success looks like and what it means to help someone seemingly so unlike us, so “other.”

 

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