Posted 20 hours ago

Noah's Castle - The Complete Series [DVD]

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Richard McKenna grew up in the visionary utopia of 1970s South Yorkshire and now ekes out a living among the crumbling ruins of Rome, from whence he dreams of being rescued by the Terran Trade Authority. Modern novels tend to open with a crisis and move quickly forward, but the first two chapters of this story develop characters and setting.

But as violence erupts around them and the government attempts to clamp down on the looters and food hoarders, the family starts to fall apart from within. but the chilling sense of hopelessness and fear of ordinary lives being turned upside down by forces that no-one can seem to control would certainly have struck a chord.

Now that I got that out of my system I will attempt to explain why I feel so strongly about a YA book that is only 211 pages long. Details of the A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book and the collection of its accompanying online images can be found at the Book’s Page, which will be added to throughout the year. The narrator, a young man named Barry, wonders what exactly is his father doing in the basement, all day long?

The story also feels like a commentary on a perceived shift away from the then-prevailing “Father-Knows-Best” mentality, as Norman’s look-after-your-own-even-if-you-have-to-kill-them-to-do-it approach proves vastly less effective as a survival technique than engaging with your fellow humans. As growing numbers of the inhabitants of a wealthy first-world country are forced to turn to food banks to survive the conservative government’s decision to make the poorest pay for a recession they didn’t cause, the Brexit parallels don’t just suggest themselves, they pretty much jump out and smack you in the face with a metaphorical riot shield. What I do know is that I don't like this book, wish I had never read this book, and would strongly encourage everyone I know not to read this book. It fits right at home in dystopian tales like The Line by Teri Hall and Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

The book Noah’s Castle most reminds me of is Christopher Priest’s 1972 speculative fiction Fugue for a Darkening Island. Dad Norman (David Neal), a former soldier and now a shoe salesman, sees the collapse coming and moves the family to a huge house on the edge of town – the castle of the title – and begins hoarding food and other supplies. The dank shadow of WWII still hung heavy: youth clubs were held in ex-WAAF canteens, traces of Anderson shelters still poked through back gardens, and even thriving towns far from London displayed the exposed second-floor fireplaces and diagonal walls that were the badge of having been bombed by German planes. The book proved divisive, some publications praising it upon release for the progressive nature of its politics, while others, including London’s Time Out magazine, described it as right-wing propaganda, a reputation that deepened over the years as paradigms regarding the discussion of race and immigration progressed. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged.

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