Many thanks to Henry Holt for providing my free copy – all opinions are my own.
“Lea studied the lines of his face. In them she saw again every expression he had ever made–every smile and frown and sigh–saw how they jostled for room on the canvas of his skin, how they’d etched their fleeting existence into his flesh, how they filled it up, made their mark, carved and pulled and twisted until there was no space left.”
I’m going to say right up front that I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel. It is a slow burn with an original premise and lovely writing. In a world where we all strive to look younger and more beautiful, this book almost mocks that but in a very intelligent way.
Lea Kirino is considered a lifer, which means she can potentially live forever. She works in a career in which she helps her clients in the organ trade business through the New York exchange. She and her fiancé, Todd, are genetically elite and as long as they engage in organ replacements, various technological enhancements, exercise, and proper nutrition, their potential to live forever is possible. However, all of this is in peril after Lea runs into her estranged father and he introduces her to the SUICIDE CLUB. It’s a group that is against this notion of immortality and wants to live and die on their own terms. Does Lea want to shatter her chance at immortality? I finished this book weeks ago and I cannot get it out of my head. The narrators, Lea and Anja, are two strong women with very distinct voices that I love. They are each searching for their own idea of quality of life and the meaning behind it. The concept of immortality is so fascinating, and the realistic, detailed dystopian future that Heng creates is seems entirely plausible. For instance, instead of the New York Stock Exchange people are similarly trading human organs. The idea of death is forbidden – the notion that looking at art or listening to music is taboo is unimaginable but makes total sense if you’re serious about a regimented, long life. This book begs the question is this life of immortality worth the sacrifices you need to make?
This beautiful book is thought-provoking and really makes you consider whether these type of science and medical advancements would be ideal for the future. The idea of genetically engineered humans walking the earth is a real brain teaser and a lot of fun to ponder. My only critique is wanting more: more world building, expansion on the suicide cult, and on the bionic aspect. I’m totally in love with this beautiful, unique book.
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars!
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