Wednesday 27 June 2012

The Glimpse by Claire Merle

Pages - 411
Published by Faber and Faber in June 2012
Book kindly sent for review by publisher

Mrs Beale checked the temperature of the water in Ana's plastic baby bath. Behind them, Tamsin hunched over her own tub and mimicked their teacher, peering cross-eyed at the thermometer. 
'Thirty-seven degrees Celsius,' Mrs Beale muttered. 'Very good.'
Tamsin's lips moved in sync with the teacher's words. Her eyelids fluttered, gazing high over Ana's head, just like Mrs Beale. Ana bit the insides of her cheeks, holding back laughter.

Goodreads Summary
In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.
Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.
Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe.
If the world ever gets like this, shoot me! 
This is a dystopian view of the world in the not too distant future where basically you are not allowed to show emotions. If you show any emotion, you are likely to be thrown out of the Pure community and locked up in some psychiatric establishment. This is a really dark dystopian and one that affected me more than others. It scared me a little, because you could see the thought process that led them to creating the Pure test and changing society in the way they did.  I think what really made me sit up and think was the details of where children were prescribed drugs from birth to deal with mental illnesses that may occur. Such a difficult and controversial subject to write about.
I have to take my hat off to the author. Not only has she thoroughly done her research but she isn't afraid to taken on subjects that will cause questions to be raised. It felt like a two finger salute to the government who need to rethink the future. 
Ana is a very strong female protagonist who will appeal to lovers of Katniss  from The Hunger Games. She has a strong sense of what is right and wrong and what she needs to achieve. She will not be held back by anyone. Her growing relationship with Cole was really lovely and had me swooning, as I have a strong belief in fate! I didn't warm to Ana's father, Ashby, but then I don't think I was supposed to. He was really cold and controlling, almost suffocating Ana with his unhealthy attention, almost analysing her every move.
There is a lot of talk about the collapse of situations that are occurring right now in society which really added to the creepy chill factor. The petrol crisis causing  disastrous effects in this book.
One of the things I truly loved about this book was that it was set in the UK. I haven't read any other dystopian fiction that has that Great British feel to it. This book is set around London with a lot of it set in Camden Lock, one of my favourite places to visit while in London, although the picture painted by the author shows a darker version of the Camden I know. The scenes in the institutions were archaic and horrifying as the science of psychiatry goes full circle back to almost torture tactics of the past. 
There is a touch of information overload in this book and for the first few chapters I had to get my head around all the information provided. However with any new world being built for fiction, you need to get the facts straight, so I can see how necessary it was. 
The ending surprised me - it was quite different to how I had envisioned it. Yet it was a good ending and made sense. Ana was very calculated about her decision so I really shouldn't have been surprised.
There is a sequel to this book and I can't wait to see how the story turns out. Definitely an author to watch out for. Probably coming to a screen near you very soon!


  1. Funny you should end with probably coming to a screen soon as I was thinking it would make a great film as I read your review.

  2. I saw this book when I went to Sainsburys the other day.. the cover really caught my eye..and the blurb was just as good.. I can't wait to read the book now :)

  3. Thanks for the little excerpt. :D I like it. A nice review. :D I can't wait to read this book!

  4. I really enjoyed this book and like you I was impressed with the authors deft handling of some really controversial subjects. A really thought provoking novel. I can't wait for the sequel!

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  6. Vivienne, thanks for the glimpse into The Glimpse (sorry, couldn't resist!). It is often quite lovely when books take place in a familiar setting and are done well. Wonderful review! I do enjoy dystopian fiction from time to time and will keep an eye out for this one, even though my TBR stacks are about to topple over--again!

  7. I was a little worried about the mental illness aspect of this book. I may have to give it a go after reading your review. Although I still have my concerns :D

  8. Oh! I didn't know it was set in the UK - makes this a priority to buy, fab review :)


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