Leni Zumas – Red Clocks

Red Clocks

Leni Zumas’ debut novel, The Listeners was an excellent exploration of depression, albeit executed in a post modern way: a non chronological history of the main protagonists depression symbolised by a toy octopus. It seems bizarre on screen but in reality the reader got a touching story on how depression can overtake a version and Zumas’ quirky dressing made the story more heartfelt.

For her second novel, Red Clocks Zumas visits the same territory, however only style-wise. Zumas still uses the post modern techniques that were present in The Listeners, however  Red Clocks is more ambitious, more experimental and cleverer.

The book takes place in near future America where abortion is illegal. Not only that but in order to adopt a person has to be married. The plot itself focuses on five women and their experiences with these laws.

The first Ro wants a baby but has problems and has been rejected for adopting a child, the second Susan, wants to split up from her husband, Mattie,a high school student, is pregnant, Gin links all the women together as she gives medicines to women in trouble and all the the characters visit her. The fifth woman is the subject of a biography Ro is writing. Throughout the book these five characters destines criss-cross each other. Until something happens to Gin and unites everyone.

Red Clocks, is ultimately a novel about breaking free from the constraints of male oppression. Each of these characters have problems and need to solve them in order to become independent sometimes it happens and sometimes it leads to other things. A stated above all events are not in order so you need to read a few chapters in order to get a clear picture but when it happens the novel becomes rewarding, especially in the last hundred or so pages.

Controversial and eye opening, Red Clocks definitely forms a part of the canon that includes Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things.