Vox: Book summary and reviews of Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox by Christina Dalcher X
Vox by Christina Dalcher
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Book Summary

1984 meets The Handmaid's Tale in this debut novel where the American government has silenced half the population – women. VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial - this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Christina Dalcher's debut novel, set in a recognizable near future and sure to beg comparisons to Margaret Atwood's dystopian The Handmaid's Tale, asks: if the number of words you could speak each day was suddenly and severely limited, what would you do to be heard? A novel ripe for the era of #MeToo, VOX (Berkley) presents an exaggerated scenario of women lacking a voice: in the United States, they are subject to a hundred-word limit per day (on average, a human utters about 16,000). Considering the threat of a society in which children like the protagonist's six-year-old daughter are deprived of language, VOX highlights the urgency of movements like #MeToo, but also of the basic importance of language." - Vanity Fair

"VOX is intelligent, suspenseful, provocative, and intensely disturbing – everything a great novel should be." - Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Chilling and gripping—a real page-turner." - Karen Cleveland, New York Times bestselling author of Need to Know

"A bold, brilliant, and unforgettable debut." - Alice Feeney, author of Sometimes I Lie

"With language crystalline and gleaming, and a narrative that really moves, Christina Dalcher both cautions and captivates. The names that come to mind are Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, and Aldous Huxley—had Orwell and Huxley had a taste of the information age. VOX is a book for the dystopic present. It woke me up." - Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces

"[A] provocative debut…Dalcher's novel carries an undeniably powerful message." - Publishers Weekly

"A petrifying re-imagining of The Handmaid's Tale in the present and a timely reminder of the power and importance of language." - Marta Bausells, ELLE UK

"This book will blow your mind. The Handmaid's Tale meets Only Ever Yours meets The Power." - Nina Pottell, Prima

"Dalcher's premise is tantalizing, but the execution of her thought experiment - what happens when women's voices are taken, in the most literal sense? - quickly devolves into the stuff of workaday thrillers." - Kirkus

This information about Vox was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Donna M, Kennesaw GA, librarian

Vox by Christina Dalcher
Fascinating dystopian read, kept me up all night. What set this one apart for me is the questions raised by the characters, causing me to wonder about my own responses as well as my present activities. Book clubs will want this one for strong opinions alone.

Gail I. (Delray Beach, FL)

Vox: Not Simply Fiction
Vox: A Novel is more of a cautionary tale in this day and age when things we never imagined would happen in our country are suddenly happening. It makes you realize how people with extreme religious beliefs can hijack the government and take away the rights of others due to their beliefs. In this case, it's women and girls who are being suppressed. Their right to speech and even communicating the written word is severely limited. As a woman who continues to fight for the rights of all suppressed people, I find this concept frightening.

It's a must read book that makes you think about freedoms we often take for granted. It's also very relevant in today's political climate!

Erin, Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, WA

How far would you go to protect those you loved?
If you could speak only 100 words per day, what would you choose to say?

Jean used to be apolitical, never imagining a fringe movement could gain such power. Now she's fighting for the lives of everyone she loves as part of an underground resistance network. Her tension, frustration, despair, rage, and fear are palpable. I could almost hear relentless, urgent music playing in the background as I read. It was particularly haunting to alternate reading this novel with listening to the third Maggie Hope mystery, set primarily in WWII Berlin. In the era of a Trump White House, this cautionary tale should inspire you to exercise your right to vote, speak up, and join protest movements...while you still can.

Do not read this at bedtime because you'll either try to sleep and fail, or keep reading through the night until you finish the book.

For readers' advisors: story doorway is primary, character and setting are secondary. There is quite a bit of profanity, some sex, and some violence. Plenty to talk about for book clubs. Good choice for fans of The Handmaid's Tale or Future Home of the Living God.

Many thanks to Bookbrowse.com and the publisher for the ARC I received in exchange for my honest review! I don't usually read dystopia, but this was excellent.

Beth T. (Savannah, GA)

Great Read
There's a great deal to like about Vox. It's a dystopian tale with a strong female lead who's a wife, mother, and linguistics scientist who was on the verge of a breakthrough discovery when she and all other women were banished to their homes and no longer able to work. And then something happens that changes everything. I really enjoyed Vox. I liked the story, characters, plot, and writing style. It covered quite a bit of emotional ground and had plenty of twists and surprises to keep me engaged throughout while not being so gruesome that I couldn't go to sleep after a reading session. I have every reason to believe this will be a very popular book, especially given the current climate in our country. Book clubs in particular should have some lively discussions about Vox.

Maryanne B. (Chapel Hill, NC)

A Distressing Dystopia
In Vox, Christine Dalcher has crafted a mind-blowing dystopia that is shockingly sexist, and yet it is filled with cultural, religious, and political elements of credibility that bring her distorted environment to the present day. Accurate clinical depictions of neurological and linguistic disorders further heighten the reality and suspense of this page-turning novel. Written in the vein of Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale, this thought-provoking novel remains with the reader long after and serves to remind each of us to embrace and value the diversity and rights of all people.

Jeanne W. (Colorado Springs, CO)

A not-too farfetched future?
There will probably be a lot of comparisons to A Handmaid's Tale and that's an apt description, but Vox stands on its own merits. In a world where women are controlled by means of a band on their wrists limiting them to 100 words a day, no longer allowed to work and urged to take become "pure" in the new national religion, Dr. Jean McClelland is struggling to adapt to her new life. The horror and difficulty of parsing your words for the day comes through loud and clear. I wish the author had dealt with this issue a little more, and the whole conspiracy thing a little less though. Once Jean is allowed to speak again, the novel loses some of its impact. But it's a great, fast read and I think it would spark lots of interesting conversations in book clubs. These cautionary tales are something we should be taking more seriously these days.

...30 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Christina Dalcher Author Biography

Photo: © Laurens Arenas

Christina Dalcher earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University. She specializes in the phonetics of sound change in Italian and British dialects and has taught at several universities.

Her short stories and flash fiction appear in more than one hundred journals worldwide. Recognition includes first place for the Bath Flash Award, nominations for the Pushcart Prize, and multiple other awards. She lives in Norfolk, Virginia, with her husband.

Link to Christina Dalcher's Website

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