A National Bestseller
A New York Times Editor's Choice
A Time Magazine Best Book of the Year
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
An Indie Next Pick
One of Wall Street Journal's Twelve Books to Read This Winter
An Esquire most anticipated book of 2018
An Elle Best Book of Winter
A Popsugar most anticipated book of Fall
A Ploughshares most anticipated book of Fall
A Nylon Best Book of the Month
One of Publishers Weekly's most anticipated titles of Fall 2017
Five women. One question. What is a woman for?
In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.
Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro's best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling herbalist, or "mender," who brings all their fates together when she's arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.
RED CLOCKS is at once a riveting drama, whose mysteries unfold with magnetic energy, and a shattering novel of ideas. In the vein of Margaret Atwood and Eileen Myles, Leni Zumas fearlessly explores the contours of female experience, evoking THE HANDMAID'S TALE for a new millennium. This is a story of resilience, transformation, and hope in tumultuous-even frightening-times.
|Publisher:||Little, Brown and Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Leni Zumas is the author of the story collection Farewell Navigator and the novel The Listeners, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She is an associate professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Portland State University.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2.5 Stars I really liked the premise of this book when I read description. However, the reading of the book was so tedious and challenging that I had to give up on it at about 35% into it. There was not a story here, per se, IMO. It was filled with phrases just thrown in. No conversation or plots. The characters (the mender, the daughter, the wife, etc.) are called by their roles. Then every once in a while, their names are used. And you had better be paying attention to catch this. Unfortunately, the book was not garnering all my attention, hardly any of it. Not only would I need a spreadsheet to keep up, but I would need a white board, as well. One that I could tie strings from person to person detailing relationships, etc. For me, this was all too challenging with little entertainment provided. I am not a fan of this type of writing at all. Thanks to Little, Brown and Company and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
W. O. W. I finished this book a couple of weeks ago already and am still struggling to come up with a coherent and acceptable public reaction. I read it as part of a month-long buddy read with weekly discussions (feel free to search our hashtag on Instagram if you’d like to read through our discussions – #awesomeAFbuddyreads), and I couldn’t have chosen a better way to read it. There is SO MUCH to talk about within the covers of this book! I’m pretty sure my head would’ve exploded had I not talked it out as I read. (Ok, maybe not. But you get my point.) Zumas gave this book four narrators. Sometimes multiple narrators can be a burden, especially when you’re trying to keep everyone’s storyline straight. That wasn’t the case with Red Clocks. Every chapter is labeled with its narrator, so that alone makes it easy to follow, but add to that the fact that each of these women have such unique, distinct, strong voices, and you’re easily and quickly drawn right back into each of their lives with each new chapter. Despite the distinctions between each of their stories, there are some very notable similarities amongst them. The lives of every single one of these women has been negatively impacted by the Personhood Amendment, and they’re all struggling to make sense of their chaos. And they’re angry. Ro, Susan, Mattie, and Gin are all really mad about the fact that their rights have been rescinded and they’re now at the mercy of the whims of the new president. As a woman, I was terrified, I was angry, and I was caught up in this story like a deer in headlights. I absolutely cannot fathom being in any of their shoes. But what if? I could babble on about this book for hours, but I’d spoil the whole thing for you. I know this won’t be a book for everyone, and it’s not an easy read, but if you’re even the slightest bit intrigued by the synopsis, I say go for it.
For all of Stephen King's monsters that he has created over the years, there is nothing as frightening as an oppressive, futuristic society that has a decent likelihood of coming true. Margaret Atwood understood this when writing her brilliant The Handmaid's Tale. Leni Zumas is just one more author to capitalize on this fact in her novel, Red Clocks. Whereas Ms. Atwood was writing a novel that could potentially come true, Ms. Zumas' novel is one that all but grabs its plot from current headlines as the conservative right continues to demean women and seek to destroy our right to take ownership of what happens to our body and when. The fact that there is yet another strong push to upend the Roe v. Wade decision and its pertinence to Ms. Zumas' story makes this the most terrifying story of all. What may be even worse is the fact that stories like Ms. Zumas' only serve to remind readers that general sentiment towards women by a small but very powerful minority have not changed over the centuries. Women with strong personalities, like Eivør, or who exhibit expertise in an area, like Gin, have always been called witches and continue to be vilified for not expressing "more feminine" traits. Girls like Mattie continue to face societal scorn for getting pregnant out of wedlock, as if women are the sole instigators of pregnancy. Mothers like Susan will always face pressure from others for not appreciating their marriage and motherhood and experience doubts for wanting something more out of life. Yes, things are changing but at a glacial pace, which makes Red Clocks such a timely novel. Moreover, unlike in Ms. Benjamin's latest novel, Ms. Zumas gets us to care about her characters. They are achingly real in their desires, their frustrations, and their mistakes. None of the women want to break the law; they do not set out to be criminals. What they do have is a desire to do with their body and their lives what THEY want and not what others dictate. Seeing all of the women struggle is heartbreaking, all the more so because you cannot help but feel that their stories are eerily prescient as well.