Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh

Today I sat outside and finished Blue Ticket by UK author, Sophie Mackintosh.

Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you children. A blue ticket grants you freedom. You are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. And, once you've taken your ticket, there is no going back. 

But what if the life you're given is the wrong one? 

Blue Ticket is a devastating enquiry into free will and the fraught space of motherhood. Bold and chilling, it pushes beneath the skin of female identity and patriarchal violence, to the point where human longing meets our animal bodies.

I enjoy stories which take place in dystopian societies. Although no places or countries were named in this novel, I'm sure it takes place in Wales, England or some other imaginary place like it. Not surprising, as Ms. Mackintosh is from South Wales. It is not a futuristic novel as this society's technology seems very 1980ish to me. 

Calla's blue ticket, one she hoped for, was supposed to give her freedom. As she goes off on her own, though, she feels a loss, a heaviness inside her. Finally she does something about it.

Her story is told in first person, past tense, which is her telling the reader of what and how she remembers the past. It's a type of narrative which allows a reader to get inside the characters mind and to feel her emotions and Mackintosh does this very well. What I did find it distracting at first, but quickly became used to, was the book contains no quotation marks, which, of course, it wouldn't as the character of Calla, is telling her story in her own words.

It's an interesting, deep and dark tale. One I enjoyed reading. I can see why the authors debut novel, The Water Cure, made the long list for the Man Booker Prize.  

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