Unregistered

M. Lynch. City Owl, $12.99 trade paper (220p) ISBN 978-1-94472-855-7
In debut author Lynch’s exceptional near-future totalitarian nightmare of obedience and forced sterilization, all major individual decisions are removed. The Metrics Worldwide Government measures and assigns everyone’s class, education, mate, and profession, and citizens wear computerized watches that monitor their entire lives. Four central characters in an unnamed city resent their repressive lives. Dark-skinned Bristol Ray is a disadvantaged Banksy, painting subversive murals after curfew. As a second-born in a one-child society, he is “unregistered”—ineligible for food rations, education, or spouse. His sister, Denver, is a bitter third-tier matched with a light-skinned fourth-tier husband as part of the government’s New Race breeding program, intended to achieve an entire population with “the same paper-bag-brown tone.” Despondent 11-year-old Jude Reeder, an underachieving second-tier child and an embarrassment to the government, is framed for Bristol’s paintings and thrown into juvenile lock-up. Samara Shepherd, a 25-year-old fifth-tier unexpectedly assigned the lofty career of education manager, asks too many questions and is willing to bend the rules. Their lives intertwine in Lynch’s scant but complex book, which packs in scathing commentaries on police brutality, crime prevention, population control, classism, and state-sponsored murder. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/23/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
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