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Dystopian novel set in SOUTH EAST FRANCE

23rd February 2024

We are Together Because by Kerry Andrew, dystopian coming-of-age novel set in South East France.

Dystopian novel set in South East FRANCE

Four siblings have landed in their father’s house in the South East of France for a get together. Their father will be joining them shortly. Connor and Luke are the children of one mother, Thea and Violet the children of another woman. The overlap in ages would suggest that their father was running his two relationships simultaneously for at least a short period. The boys are slightly older, the girls still in their late teenage years. And here they are, in his house in beautiful France, for a bonding session. Their everyday lives are described in Part 1 of the novel, where already there is a sense of foreboding. Everything feels more intense, the animal kingdom is edgy and Connor is very aware of a hum, a drone that burrows deep into his brain. Something just isn’t right.

In Part 2 the youngsters are faced with the end of the world and they have to deal with the fall out, as everything descends into chaos – almost overnight.

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The author is really very talented and it was the quality of writing that kept me reading. For me, though, there are a couple of issues that felt like a cop out. They (the author’s preferred pronoun) avoids the emotional fragility and complexity that would inevitably accompany a forced get-together between siblings, who are pretty unfamiliar with each other. Part of the focus of connection is on the sexual side and a coupling is forged between two of the four – which is of course tricky given they are blood relatives. There are some lobbed-in graphic sexual descriptions – pertaining in part to pornography – which would be inappropriate (I hope) for the Young Adult audience, the genre where this coming-of-age novel would actually find its natural home.

In Part 2 there is no indication of the nature of burgeoning world events, which somehow leaves that storyline floating against a non-specified backdrop, in the superficial realm – the background is missing. It feels like the author is avoiding delving into the more difficult bits of the story that would have made for a more rounded, connective novel. It needed more depth.

The author pens very confident and fluid prose, and the hardback copy is beautifully put together. Overall,I am not convinced that the two stories really dovetailed to make this feel like a truly cohesive read. The strap line is accurate: “...siblings, sex and the end of the world” but if you want a bit more, you may well be disappointed.

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