(AD) Hello and welcome back to another review. Today I will be discussing my thoughts on dystopian fiction novel Line by Niall Bourke.
Thank you to Niall, Tramppress and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for providing me this review copy.
Willard, his mother and his girlfriend Nyla have spent their entire lives in an endless journey where daily survival is dictated by the ultimate imperative: obey the rules, or you will lose your place in the Line.
Everything changes the day Willard’s mother dies and he finds an incomprehensible book hidden among her few belongings…
In its Beckettian sparseness, Line pushes the boundaries of speculative, high concept fiction.
Deeply moving, it also touches on many of the pressing issues of our turbulent world: migration and the refugee crisis, big data and the erosion of democracy, climate change, colonialism, economic exploitation, social conformity and religious fanaticism.
A stunning debut from a major new voice in Irish literature.
It took me a matter of 2 days to start and finish this book, which is a sign of how much I enjoyed it.
To start with, the short, snappy chapters are fantastically laid out and have a way of making you read on because you don’t feel you need to invest in huge chunks of time to get through one.
Secondly the story itself was engaging. I really invested myself in Willards life and I wanted to know more about the Line and the world in which he and Nyla live.
The book is broken down further into sections which signify significant changes in the world and plot.
However, I found that Part V and Part VII were very hard to get through. While I completely understand why the author included them to help understand this different world, I felt that they completely pulled me out of the story and considering how much enthusiasm I had for it, I found these 2 sections very dull. Specifically Part V.
I can’t help but wonder if there would have been a better way to include the relevant information without making it feel like a technical info dump which essentially is how it felt to read.
But saying this, do not be disheartened because my opinion will not be the same as others and even with these two small parts the rest of the book is an absolute marvel. It balances on a delicate edge between fiction and a possible reality we could very well be faced with in some similar terms.
There is a certain level of shock gore in some chapters which doesn’t bother me in the slightest, though this is not regular and is used in a way to express the seriousness of certain actions.
All in all I would rate this an easy 4 stars and will definitely be on the lookout for more books by this author. Throughly enjoyable.
About the Author
Niall Bourke is a writer and a teacher. His work has been published widely in magazines and journals in Ireland and the UK, and his poems and stories have been short-listed for numerous awards, including the Costa Short Story Award and the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award. He lives in South London with his partner, his daughter and his cat.
Thanks for reading.