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Book Title: The Carhullan Army|
The author of the book: Sarah Hall
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 335 KB
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Reader ratings: 3.7
Edition: Faber & Faber
Date of issue: August 16th 2007
ISBN 13: 9780571238590
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Sarah Hall's The Carhullan Army takes place in northern Britain in the future, after an unnamed environmental catastrophe has totally changed the island's weather and replaced it with a climate that's almost tropical. Along the way, civil society has disintegrated and democracy has been replaced by a totalitarian regime known only as the Authority, which has imposed strict control on the population under the disguise of a recovery plan - population is made to live in communal housing in isolated communities, where electricity and food are rationed; women are forced to wear coils to prevent reproduction.
The protagonist, known only as Sister, has had enough of this treatment and decided to escape to a remote farm in Carhullan n the far north of Cumbria. In the once beautiful Lake District a group of determined and rebellious women have established their own settlement and militia, defying the regime of the Authority - but the nature of the community and its inhabitants might not be the one that Sister has expected.
The Carhullan Army's main point - would a society composed only of women turn to violence and savagery? - is interesting, but the rest of the novel drags it down. The book suffers from poor pacing - despite its short length it can be a real slog at times - and never manages to properly develop its characters; they're never more than stand-ins for the author's ideas and concepts that she wanted to present. World building - something I find essential in dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction - is minimal; the ending is abrupt and reads like a cop out. As a whole the novel doesn't say anything that hasn't been said before and better by other authors, and just isn't a particularly interesting and valuable addition to the genre.
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Read information about the authorLibrarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Sarah Hall took a degree in English and Art History at Aberystwyth University, and began to take writing seriously from the age of twenty, first as a poet, several of her poems appearing in poetry magazines, then as a fiction-writer. She took an M Litt in Creative Writing at St Andrew's University and stayed on for a year afterwards to teach on the undergraduate Creative Writing programme.
Her first novel, Haweswater, was published in 2002. It is set in the 1930s, focuses on one family - the Lightburns - and is a rural tragedy about the disintegration of a community of Cumbrian hill-framers, due to the building of a reservoir. It won several awards, including the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book).
Sarah Hall currently lives in North Carolina. Her second book, The Electric Michelangelo (2004), set in the turn-of-the-century seaside resorts of Morecambe Bay and Coney Island, was shortlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia Region, Best Book).
The Carhullan Army (2007), won the 2007 John Llewellyn-Rhys Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the 2008 Arthur C Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction.
Her latest novel is How to Paint a Dead Man (2009).
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