Monday, December 5, 2011

Nomansland - Lesley Hauge

Summary:  Sometime in the future, after wars and fires have devastated the earth, a lonely windswept island in the north is populated solely by women.  The women have survived against all odds by working hard in their fields.  Their lives are tough. 

Among these women is a group of teenage Trackers -- expert equestrians and archers -- who are in training to protect their shores from the enemy.  The enemy, they've been told, is men.

When these girls come upon a partially buried home form the distant past, they are fascinated by the strange objects -- high-heeled shoes, teen magazines, make up -- found there.  What are they to make of these mysterious things, which introduce a world they have never known?  And what does it mean for their strict society where friendship is forbidden and rules must be obeyed -- at all costs?  (Summary from book - Image from )

My Review:  Foundland is an isolated island with a population free from the ravages of war and disease that surround them; they are pure, protected, and entirely female.  Men are the enemy.  Foundland’s female inhabitants scorn traditional ideas of male patriarchy, beauty, individuality, and self-expression in favor of a more uniform, regulated, and emotionless lifestyle.  Keller is a tracker who has grown weary of rigidity of daily life; she chafes under the constant scrutiny of the Leaders, and tries not to notice the shortages, the failing crops, and the discontent that she feels bubbling inside her.  When Keller goes on a walkabout to enjoy a little solitude, she stumbles upon a clandestine meeting between one of her own and one of the enemy.   When Keller and a group of friends unearth a dwelling from the Old People who lived in the Time Before, they are drawn to the beauty of an unfamiliar culture, with fascinating and devastating results. 

Nomansland was an interesting, fast, and entertaining read.  It fit fairly well in to the YA genre, even though there were a few instances of profanity and the occasional topless woman (very gym locker room, I assure you).  I loved each time Keller or her friends uncovered a new object from the Time Before.  Usually it was clear to me, though it wasn’t to the characters, exactly what the object was, and it’s intended use.  Their childlike examination of the artifacts they found created an interesting perspective on our own cultural quirks and it was easy to see the ridiculous nature of some of our current obsessions and trends.
While Nomansland might snare more teens than adults with its fairly simple writing style, I still thought it was an entertaining way to pass the afternoon.   

My Rating: 3.5 Stars.  A fun one-time read.
For the sensitive reader: Four minor instances of profanity  (the SH variety), some frank discussion about mating animals and the process of artificial insemination (both purely scientific), and a few topless women (think National Geographic rather than Showgirls)

Sum it up:  An easy afternoon of light reading.

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