Vox (Dalcher)

Christina Dalcher, 2018
Penguin Publishing
336 pp.

Set in a United States in which half the population has been silenced, 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 one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning…

Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard.

…not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
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 the Bath Flash Award short list, nominations for the Pushcart Prize, and multiple other awards. She lives in Norfolk, Virginia, with her husband. (From the publisher.)

Book 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?… 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

The females in Dalcher’s electrifying debut are permitted to speak just 100 words a day—and that’s especially difficult for the novel’s protagonist, Jean, a neurolinguist. A futurist thriller that feels uncomfortably plausible.
Oprah Magazine

In Christina Dalcher’s Vox, women are only allowed to speak 100 words a day. Sounds pretty sci-fi, but the real-life parallels will make you shiver.

Vox is a real page-turner that will appeal to people with big imaginations.

[P]rovocative…. [M]ost chilling is the specter of young girls being starved of language and, consequently, the capacity to think critically.… [A] muddled climax and implausible denouement fail to live up to its intriguing premise. Nevertheless,…a powerful message.
Publishers Weekly

(Starred review) Jean is multilayered, [whose] definite faults …enrich rather than detract from the story…. Verdict: Dalcher reflects current politics in a… page-turning first novel that is perfect for fans of speculative fiction [and book clubs]. —Charli Osborne, Oak Park P.L., MI
Library Journal

[C]hilling…. With its focus on the vitality of communication and human interactions, Dalcher’s tale is a fresh and terrifying contribution to the burgeoning subgenre about women-focused dystopias spearheaded by… The Handmaid’s Tale.

The ending of the novel, while surprising, is rushed, unearned, and the least convincing part of a story that continually challenges the reader's suspension of disbelief.… Dalcher's premise is tantalizing, but the execution… quickly devolves into the stuff of workaday thrillers.
Kirkus Reviews

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