This week has been long and full of terrors and sometimes it has felt like maybe going and living in a community cut off from the rest of the world. But that is a stupid idea, not only because to change the world you have to be in it, and anyway, literature tells us that separated communities are a dumb idea.
So have a list of my top three isolationist novels.
1. Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
Set in the sleepy town of Stepford, the latest residents, Joanna Eberhart and her family, start to discover the secrets of the town. And none of them are good.
Stepford Wives is a cultural touchstone and reading the book you can see why. A masterful piece of sci fi looking at what society trains men to expect of women and the dangers of the patriarchal system.
2. The Coldest Girl in ColdTown by Holly Black
Taking place in a world where vampires are real and live in sealed off “Cold Towns”, Tana wakes up in the aftermath of a partu turned massacre, convinced she’s turning into a vampire. Naturally, she heads straight for the nearest Cold Town.
Coldest Girl asks interesting questions about fame and how we live out lives on the internet, as well as giving vampires back a dangerous side, after so many years of popular culture defanging them.
3. Candor by Pam Bachorz
Written for a teen audience, Bachorz creates a community that is perfect in all ways. Except perhaps that everyone is brainwashed to make it that way.
Oscar is the son of the mayor and he knows the secret. He works to help new teen residents escape but can he do so without being discovered?
Candor is like Stepford Wives for those more interested in YA than 60s fiction, and definitely made an impact on me when I read it at 13. (Do forgive me if it perhaps hasn’t stood the test of time – My copy is at my Dad’s).
There’s plenty of novels on an isolationist theme out there. Margaret Atwood alone has a few. Any you think I missed? Any you think I have to read?