Sammy HK Smith
In her post-apocalyptic world, she has chosen to leave her home and wander the wastelands, subsisting on what she can scavenge and hunt. Women have become mere chattel in this new reality, bought and sold and violated at the whim of the men who snare them, so she avoids human contact, slipping through the shadows in order to remain free. She succeeds for almost three years, until the day that she is captured and shackled and taken to be his property. She becomes Anna – gracious and compliant – and so begins the nightmare.
Anna is by no means a comfortable read. The themes of abuse and violence are difficult to read about, but they very much ring true. Anna’s reaction of self-blame for the actions of her abuser is realistic, no matter how seemingly illogical it may be, and we watch her identity being eroded away, as ephemeral as the names she writes in water.
This is not a book that is ‘enjoyed’ – the subject matter makes that all but impossible – but it’s still worth reading. I thought it lost its way somewhat in the last third and would have liked more detail on the causes and early effects of the war, but it’s an engaging story, nonetheless.
I received an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publication date – 25th May 2021