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Q by Christina Dalcher

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Crime/Thriller

By Swirl and Thread

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‘I wonder what we’ll do with the people who aren’t necessary anymore?’

Q is the second novel from the Sunday Times Bestselling author of VOX, Christina Dalcher. Q is published with HQ Stories and is described as an ‘explosive new dystopian thriller’

When writing my review of VOX in 2018 I said it ‘is a book quite unlike any I have read before because the concept, while appearing far-fetched, is NOT completely beyond the realms of possibility’. In Q the concept freaked me out even more so because I fear that something like this could actually happen……because it did before.

Christina Dalcher does not write fairytales. Her books, though fiction, open our eyes to the possibility of ‘What-if?’ In a society where dictators, leaders and egotists exist with warped ideologies and a righteous belief in their own power, one has to ask that question, one that at times could just as easily be ‘When?’

Q stands for quotient. Elena Fairchild is a teacher, married with two daughters, Anne and Freddie. Her husband, Malcolm, holds a senior government departmental position, with many of his stringent ideas now law. One mandatory law is that all members of society MUST undergo regular testing of their intelligence, including all the children. The theory behind this is that the correct standard of education will be given to each child. Every morning children get on buses with their painted colour an indication of the schools these children attend. No one wants their child on the yellow bus. Kids on the yellow buses are the least gifted. These children are sent to boarding schools further away, with limited visitation allowances for their parents. Society is marked, scored in every aspect of life, with unborn babies tested and allocated their potential Q scores to give the prospective parents ‘options’. Perfection is the aim in this new world. The gifted will thrive as children, and as adults. Procreation among the gifted is the ideal scenario, the encouraged scenario.

Elena Fairchild, believed in many of these concepts. She agreed with her husband on many topics in the early years, but now, with two children of her own, one who is gifted and one who is not, Elena has changed. When the yellow bus pulls up to collect her younger daughter Freddie, Elena knows that she needs a plan.

Her grandmother remembers back to a past she thought was well buried but Elena is unable to accept what her granny is trying to tell her. Surely her daughter will be safe? Surely the state would not harm these children? Elena realises the only way to find out is to follow her daughter. She makes the decision to fail her own Q test. She manipulates the paperwork, and ensures she gets on the yellow bus to Kansas to follow her daughter. What Elena discovers is reprehensible, disturbing, shocking. Can the powers that be really be enacting such a psychotic and heinous act?

Q is frightening. Eugenics is a concept that is part of our past but how many of us know much, or even anything, about it. Christina Dalcher had an objective in writing this novel…

“If the references in this novel disturb you, then I have done my job. Because these events are disturbing… Patriotism does not require turning a blind eye to the darker chapters of our country’s history; if anything, the opposite.”
– Christina Dalcher

Q is a very horrifying and provocative tale. It evokes many emotions with feelings of disbelief, horror, and anger all coming to the fore. There is a portentous gravity to this story, one that will deeply disturb and unsettle the reader. How dystopian is this story? How far into our imagination do we have to go to visualise this scenario? Very frighteningly, not that far.

Q is another thought-provoking read from Christina Dalcher. Like VOX,Q is a high-concept novel that encourages the reader to consider the what-if. It is a chilling read, a cautionary tale, one that will encourage the reader to delve deeper into the factual elements of the story. Can history repeat itself? Unfortunately I think it can…..

Chilling. Provocative. Portentous

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.

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