Today’s TLC Book Tour is for Jane Rogers’ The Testament of Jessie Lamb, the best science fiction novel of the year and the 26th winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the most prestigious award for science fiction in Britain.
About Jane Rogers:
JANE ROGERS has written eight novels, including Her Living Image (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award), Mr. Wroe’s Virgins (a Guardian Fiction Prize runner-up), Promised Lands (winner of the Writers’ Guild Award for Best Fiction Book), Island (longlisted for the Orange Prize) and The Voyage Home. She has written drama for radio and TV, including an award-winning adaptation of Mr. Wroe’s Virgins for BBC2. She has taught writing at the University of Adelaide, at Paris Sorbonne IV and on a radio-writing project in eastern Uganda. She is professor of writing at Sheffield Hallam University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Jane lives on the edge of the moors in Lancashire, England. Visit her online at janerogers.org and on Facebook.
About The Testament of Jessie Lamb:
A rogue virus that kills pregnant women has been let loose in the world, and nothing less than the survival of the human race is at stake.
Some blame the scientists, others see the hand of God, and still others claim that human arrogance and destructiveness are reaping the punishment they deserve. Jessie Lamb is an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl living in extraordinary times. As her world collapses, her idealism and courage drive her toward the ultimate act of heroism. She wants her life to make a difference. But is Jessie heroic? Or is she, as her scientist father fears, impressionable, innocent, and incapable of understanding where her actions will lead?
Set in a world irreparably altered by an act of biological terrorism, The Testament of Jessie Lamb explores a young woman’s struggle to become independent of her parents. As the certainties of her childhood are ripped apart, Jessie begins to question her parents’ attitudes, their behavior, and the very world they have bequeathed her.
I finished The Testament of Jessie Lamb earlier this week, and am still processing it. Jessie’s world is turned upside down by a new plague, one they call Maternal Death Syndrome (MDS) because it kills pregnant women. She’s only sixteen, though, and doesn’t think much of it until she knows someone who dies from MDS. Then everything about her world seems alien and dangerous, from the talking heads to the gender-segregated groups to the politics of the day.
When we first meet Jessie, she’s locked up in a room and pleading for her freedom. I wondered who has her, because she’s so familiar with her jailer and yet so full of contempt and hate and pity. And I wondered why. What did Jessie do?
Themes of societal discord and fear run through The Testament of Jessie Lamb like multi-lane highways, and they carry feminism, procreation, religion, gender-discrimination, and environmentalism along like semi-trucks heading to various destinations. The questions raised make you think. But the myriad issues makes me wonder if the over-reaching is intentional, or a side-product of staring the end of the human race in the eye.
Jessie left me in contemplation at the end – would I have been as brave, stubborn, headstrong, opinionated, single-minded in her shoes? Or would I have waited and trusted in the abilities of my fellow man?
drey’s rating: Excellent!
Have you read The Testament of Jessie Lamb? What did you think? And if not, read on to win your very own copy!
Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of The Testament of Jessie Lamb for you, if you live in the US or Canada. To enter, fill out the form below before June 15th. Good luck!