Reading Map: Widowland

WIDOWLAND

For fans of C. J. Carey's dystopian alternative history novel, here are some suggestions which share common themes.

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Widowland

Widowland

by C. J. Carey

To control the past, they edited history. To control the future, they edited literature. London, 1953, Coronation year - but not the Coronation we thought we knew. Rose belongs to the elite caste of Gelis. She works at the Ministry of Culture rewriting literature to correct the views of the past. One morning she is summoned to the Cultural Commissioner's office and given a special task. Outbreaks of insurgency have been seen across the country. Graffiti has been daubed on public buildings. Disturbingly, the graffiti is made up of lines from famous works, subversive lines from the voices of women. Suspicion has fallen on Widowland, the run down slums inhabited by childless women over fifty, the lowest caste. These women are known to be mutinous, for they seem to have lost their fear. Before the Leader arrives for the Coronation ceremony, Rose must infiltrate Widowland and find the source of this rebellion.

 

A Woman's Place

Red Clocks

Red Clocks

by Leni Zumas

A novel set in a near-future America where abortion and assisted fertility have been outlawed. In a small Oregon fishing town, several very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity and freedom: Ro is a single high-school teacher trying to have a baby; Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is a pregnant teenager, one of Ro's best students, who has nowhere to turn, and Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath who brings them all together when she's put on trial in a modern-day witch hunt.

Vox

Vox

by Christina Dalcher

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her. This is just the beginning. Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard. For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

 

Reading as Subversive

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

by Ray Bradbury

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books. Ray Bradbury's powerful and poetic prose combines with an uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a prophetic account of Western civilization's enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Upright Women Wanted

Upright Women Wanted

by Sarah Gailey

Esther is a stowaway. She's hidden herself away in the Librarian's book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her--a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.

 

Alternative Histories

Fatherland

Fatherland

by Robert Harris

Fatherland is set in an alternative world where Hitler has won the Second World War. It is April 1964 and one week before Hitler's 75th birthday. Xavier March, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei, is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin's most prestigious suburb. As March discovers the identity of the body, he uncovers signs of a conspiracy that could go to the very top of the German Reich. And, with the Gestapo just one step behind, March, together with an American journalist, is caught up in a race to discover and reveal the truth -- a truth that has already killed, a truth that could topple governments, a truth that will change history.

SS-GB

SS-GB

by Len Deighton

In February 1941 British Command surrendered to the Nazis. Churchill has been executed, the King is in the Tower and the SS are in Whitehall. For nine months Britain has been occupied - a blitzed, depressed and dingy country. However, it's 'business as usual' at Scotland Yard run by the SS when Detective Inspector Archer is assigned to a routine murder case. Life must go on. But when SS Standartenfuhrer Huth arrives from Berlin with orders from the great Himmler himself to supervise the investigation, the resourceful Archer finds himself caught up in a high level, all action, espionage battle.

 

The Facts Behind the Fiction

17 Carnations

17 Carnations

by Andrew Morton

Morton tells the story of the feckless Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor, his American wife Wallis Simpson, the bizarre wartime Nazi plot to make him a puppet king after the invasion of Britain, and the attempted cover-up by Churchill, General Eisenhower, and King George VI of the duke's relations with Hitler. From the alleged affair between Simpson and the German foreign minister to the discovery of top secret correspondence about the man dubbed 'the traitor king' and the Nazi high command, this is a saga of intrigue, betrayal, and deception suffused with a heady aroma of sex and suspicion.

Third Reich Victorious

Third Reich Victorious

by Peter Tsouras

This book is a stimulating and entirely plausible insight into how Hitler and his generals might have defeated the Allies, and a convincing sideways look at the Third Reich's bid at world domination in World War II. What would have happened if, for example, the Germans captured the whole of the BEF at Dunkirk? Or if the RAF had been defeated in the Battle of Britain? What if the U-Boats had strangled Britain with an impregnable blockade, if Rommel had been triumphant in North Africa or the Germans had beaten the Red Army at Kursk?