Femlandia by Christina Dalcher
Femlandia by Christina Dalcher
UK Publication: Oct 2021
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Two word review – Messed Up!!
This ARC was provided by HQ (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads: A chilling look into an alternate near future where a woman and her daughter seek refuge in a women-only colony, only to find that the safe haven they were hoping for is the most dangerous place they could be.
Miranda Reynolds always thought she would rather die than live in Femlandia. But that was before the country sank into total economic collapse and her husband walked out in the harshest, most permanent way, leaving her and her sixteen-year-old daughter with nothing. The streets are full of looting, robbing, and killing, and Miranda and Emma no longer have much choice—either starve and risk getting murdered, or find safety. And so they set off to Femlandia, the women-only colony Miranda’s mother, Win Somers, established decades ago.
Although Win is no longer in the spotlight, her protégé Jen Jones has taken Femlandia to new heights: The off-grid colonies are secluded, self-sufficient, and thriving—and Emma is instantly enchanted by this idea of a safe haven. But something is not right. There are no men allowed in the colony, but babies are being born—and they’re all girls. Miranda discovers just how the all-women community is capable of enduring, and it leads her to question how far her mother went to create this perfect, thriving, horrifying society.
My Thoughts: My first thoughts on finishing this were Wow this is messed up closely followed by Love It.
Looking at other reviews I can see this is a polarising book and I totally get that. The main issue most readers have is the treatment of the Trans Women, they are mentioned briefly in one paragraph and then dismissed as not Fem so have no place in Femlandia. I think it is important to understand that this is not necessarily the author’s view it is the view of her extreme feminist characters or more accurately one extreme feminist character (the others appear to allow for a more tolerant attitude) and this viewpoint is consistent with the black and white world they have created in Femlandia.
Moving on from the above issue Dalcher has taken a bold step and one that not many authors do (I can only think of one other and that is Naomi Alderman) of saying yes the world of today run by men (as it largely is) is bad but what would a world where women have all the power look like? Both writers look at this from the perspective of “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. No matter who is in power if they perceive the world as black and white, us and them , then at some point they are going to have to take decisions that are less than ethical to maintain their world view.
The world outside of Femlandia is scary and predatory but is the world inside the gates much better? While the dangers are different there are still dangers and Dalcher knows how to keep the pressure on her readers (this book is intense) and how to build a sinister atmosphere.
Who would like this? This book is not without its faults and one of those is its binary nature however that binary nature does allow for a straightforward us and them storyline, one where if you are not with us you are against us and will have to face the consequences. If you are happy to forget the real world for a while and move into a world where most of the characters see things in terms of absolutes then this could be for you.
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