Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Review - Genesis: A Novel by Bernard Beckett

Genesis: A Novel
Author: Bernard Beckett
Year: 2009
Page: 150
Genre: Fiction - Dystopian, Sci-Fi

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? Yes
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? Future
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
Anax, the dedicated student historian at the center of Beckett's brutal dystopian novel, lives far in the future—the distant past events of the 21st century are taught in classrooms. The world of that era, we learn, was ravaged by plague and decay, the legacy of the Last War. Only the island Republic, situated near the bottom of the globe, remained stable and ordered, but at the cost of personal freedom. Anax, hoping her scholarly achievements will gain her entrance to the Academy, which rules her society, has extensively studied Adam Forde, a brilliant and rebellious citizen of the Republic who fought for human dignity in the midst of a regimented, sterile society. To join the Academy's ranks, Anax undergoes a test before three examiners, and as the examination progresses, it becomes clear that her interpretations of Adam's life defy conventional thought and there may be more to Adam—and the Academy—than she had imagined. Though the trappings of Beckett's dystopian society feel perhaps too Brave New World, the rigorous narrative and crushing final twist bring a welcome freshness to a familiar setup.

First Sentence:
Anax moved down the long corridor.

Why did I pick this book?
Saw it on the library's new release shelf. The cover attracted me to read the blurb. The premise sounds interesting - there is a sci-fi sticker on the book, which usually is not my genre, but I'm trying to read books I don't typically pick. Plus this is a thin book, shouldn't waste too much time if I don't like it? A few days after I borrowed the book, I saw a couple of blog reviews that showed not many people had read this one.

My thoughts:
  • I thought there would be more happening - but the whole book was about that entrance exam. I'd say it was a little slow at time, but I kept reading since it's a thin book...

  • I DO like the ending, which I thought made up for the slowness of the book. The concept of the book was also quite fascinating

  • For a dystopian book, I liked The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist or The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson better, though all 3 books are quite different in their nature

May scholars have complained of our tendency to see history only in conflicts, but I am not convinced they are right. It is in conflict that our values are exposed. (p88)

I try not to be surprised. Surprise is the public face of a mind that has been closed. (p123)

"I have learned to value the things others are reluctant to give." (p127)


Have you read this book? 
If you have, I would love to hear what you think!
I'll link your review here if you wish!

100+ Reading


  1. It sounds interesting and because it is a thin book maybe I will give it a try. I havent read any books from the genre fiction - Dystopian before, I may even like it.