Dreams Before the Start of Time

Anne Charnock. 47North, $14.95 trade paperback (243p) ISBN 978-1-5039-3472-6
Charnock (A Calculated Life) pulls hard on the parent’s universal worry—that no matter what we do and how much we want the best for our children, somehow we aren’t doing it right—in a skillfully executed multigenerational saga that explores a potential future driven by rapid development of reproductive technologies. Charnock’s mid-21st-century London protagonists navigate their parents’ difficulties accepting choices like conceiving solo with donor sperm or choosing to continue an accidental pregnancy; the children resulting from those decisions face questions of true single-parent reproduction and remote gestation as cutting-edge technologies; and their children deal with the ramifications of the methods of their own creation, and the cultural development of birthing choices and genetic enhancement as an issue of money and class. Though Charnock’s core characters function as archetypes manifesting the choices available in her subtly problematic future, the family context through which she revisits them throughout their lives lets her focus on the human struggles for relationship, connection, and legacy in a story that feels personal and intimate. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/27/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
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