Author: Lesley Hauge
Publisher: Henry Holt (Macmillan)
Rating: Four Stars
Release Date: June 22, 2010
In Nomansland Lesley Hauge explores what it is like to be a young woman in an uncertain dystopian future, devoid of warmth, personal expression, and friendship. For Keller, a Tracker in her small isolated women’s only community, life has been nothing but Foundland and its harsh principals. At an early age the girls are taught to shun tears, decoration, vanity, and most of all friendship. Men are the enemy and the isolation of Foundland must be maintained at all costs.
But Keller doesn’t always see the world through the eyes of Foundland. There are clues, remnants of the past, from the Time Before that trouble her. Even more so, these relics portray women in another role entirety. When she and a group of her fellow Trackers stumble upon a house from the Time Before, they unearth a time capsule from an age where women existed freely. As they grapple with their discovery, Keller realizes that these artifacts have the power to undermine the community of Foundland and challenge everything she and her fellow sisters believe in.
Hauge has managed to juxtapose feminism with a dystopian theme that will force readers to question exactly what is femininity. Is it the rejection of everything that is soft and embracing strength? Without softness, are women still women? Female? What differentiates them from men in Hauge’s cautionary tale? In Nomansland, the rejection of the feminine is taken to the extreme and Keller continually struggles with her own internal battles of what she is-with an identity that has been stripped and supplanted by a totalitarian system. I found Nomansland invigorating and startling to dive into and it fired up themes that readers will muse over long after the book has finished. Leaving readers on a sort of cliffhanger at the end, I am anxious to learn more of Keller’s new journey into the unknown…
A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)