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After Dark by Jayne Cowie

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After Dark by Jayne Cowie
UK Publication: May 2022
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

This ARC was provided by Random House UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

One word review – Disturbing

Synopsis from Goodreads: WELCOME TO A WORLD WHERE WOMEN HOLD THE POWER.

They dominate workplaces, public spaces and government

They are no longer afraid to cross a dark car park, catch the last train, or walk home alone.

With the Curfew law in place, all men are electronically tagged and must stay at home after 7pm.

It changed things for the better. Until now.

A woman is murdered late at night and evidence suggests she knew her attacker.

It couldn’t have been a man because a Curfew tag is a solid alibi… Isn’t it?

My Thoughts:  Where to start with this one? There were several things I enjoyed about the book and one blatant thing I hated which we will get to in due course.

The book itself is a definite page turner and a fast read I had to know what had happened ,to who, why and how it had happened and the way the story is told in switching narratives definitely kept me invested and kept me guessing.

Coming after recent events in the UK (Sarah Everard) this is a timely piece of fiction. At the time calls went out in the UK for a similar kind of action, don’t tell women to stay home at night to avoid male violence instead tackle the problem of male violence. The curfew is an interesting idea and I feel it could have been explored further as a reader we know it is now in place but how did that come to be? How was it implemented? What happened to those who objected? How on earth did the legislation get passed? Has it negatively impacted women as well as men?

Here we come to my big problem with the book, it was completely one sided. To start with we are fed the idea that some men might actually be decent human beings but by the time we reach the end of the book that illusion has been shattered, EVERY SINGLE MAN is basically evil according to this narrative including the male children who will grow up to be evil men. There is no nuance here female good, male bad that is it.

Curfew itself is not fully explored we have hints that curfew may not be great for all women like those on low income who have to work multiple shifts as the men can no longer work overnight but this is mentioned in passing and brushed aside. Mothers of boys have to work around curfew as from the age of 10 boys are tagged but we don’t explore how this affects their lives in terms of employment and outside activities.

Overall this was an interesting premise that would have made for a great book if a balance had been presented to the reader.

Who would like this? If you enjoy a quick read with multiple points of view and are OK with the issues I have with the book you will probably enjoy, go into this knowing it doesn’t present a resolution to society’s ills it just provides a one sided alternative.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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