... a tough portrait of life in a near-future Britain after the oil runs out. ... The novel presents itself as the statement of a detained woman prisoner, and follows a narrator, known only as "Sister", as she escapes her regimented life of tinned food and rationed electricity to join a separatist female commune on the Cumbrian moors.Chair of the judges, Suzi Feay said of the book:
Sarah Hall's fierce, uncomfortable story of a radical dissident group holed up in the far north after the total breakdown of society seemed to all the judges to be the book that tackled the most urgent and alarming questions of today ... The quality of The Carhullan Army was simply unignorable. We need writers with Hall's humanity and insight.Katy Guest interviewing the author in the Independent back in August, reckons the book :
... contains elements of The Handmaid's Tale, 1984, Lord of the Flies... But it is entirely of the moment ... If the introduction makes it sound like a satire on current government policy, it is not far wrong: this is a political book. But it is also part-thriller, part-science fiction, and a love story, of sorts.Sounds like a real must-read!
And talking of dystopian future scenarios, well worth reading is Margaret Atwood's essay on those two classics of speculative fiction, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell's 1984, which appeared in the Guardian a week or two back.