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helenliz

helenliz

The Children of Men

The Children of Men - P.D. James This is a good book, but the timings make reading it a somewhat strange experience. Published in the early 90s, the world has not seen a child born since 1995, while the book is written from a stanpoint of 2021. So the book is describing past events (that didn't happen) while still being set in the future. I found it a little difficult to turn my brain off from noticing this. It could almost do with reprinting - and shifting all the dates along 20 years!Anyway, on to the story, which is actually very good. The central character is Theo Fallon, an Oxford Don who specialises in Victorian history. He happen to be cousin of Xan, the despot who styles himself "Warden of England" Actually he runs the whole of the UK, but thinks that title sounds best. The book starts with Fallon hitting 50 and starting a diary, he also starts reviewing his life and various events. He isn't an easy character to love, being not very sympathetic in that regard, but his redeeming feature is that he at least recognises that. He becomes involved in a group of 5 very disparate people who want to (for a range of very different reasons) bring about changes in the way the country is run. For some of them this is a religous standpoint, for others it is simply a desire for power. The book is as much about the nature of faith and how the population would respond to a scenario in which hope for the future has been remoived. No children means that a lot of the activites we perform become more and more meaningless - so how & why carry on? The topic of euthenasia is also a central matter - what do you do with an ailing and increasingly infirm population - when there's no-one to look after them. It's a pretty bleak picture that's painted. And yet it ends in hope. Maybe a forlorn hope and there's no guarentee that the human race will recover, but hope none the less. It's a perfectly convincing portrayal of an umimaginable situation.