Novel by Patricia Forde;
Only words people can say;
A classic story of Noah and he Ark feat. catastrophe, survivors, new rules that’re gonna help humanity survive and thrive and shit
Only thing is , survival requires the sacrifice of language. Ppl spend their whole lives knowing only 500 words, specifically chosen to support their careers: farmers know till, mulch; scientists know chemical, process; wordsmiths keep track of all the words, and haven’t forgotten that there used to be more and that they used to be powerful.
I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t use every word I know. My favorite thing behind cooking and sex and right before naps might be words, and it would take some kind of supremely jarring experience for me to sacrifice the hold they have on me, and I on them. in America in 2017 we’re getting closer and closer to having to fight for them, to literally throwing hands for the right to speak truths. Like “The List”‘s Letta, I’ll fight for the freedom to use language how the fuck I very well please nahmean.
Protagonist Letta and the rest of Ark manage to do what their Lives require in this clipped, sad, sparse chirping called “List” ( as in “list of words you won’t get killed if you say”), and are prohibited from enjoying anything that comes from or inspries emotion: no art, no music, and i think they’re only allowed to bang like twice ever.
When this lil cute stranger dude, Marlo, shows up gunshot on her doorstep (typical) smelling like all kinds of herbs and shit, Letta (obviously a ginger) lets him in and stumbles a twisting web of lies and forgotten truths reveals itself to her. She learns about her family, herself, and just how far this Noah will go to “protect” the people of his Ark *wiggles eyebrows meaningfully*
Ruins, or becomes ruined;
So Marlo is the resistance (¡VIVA!) and his squad of orgiastic (not really) saxophoning terrorist refugees remember way back when, before global warming raised sea levels worldwide, so high apparently that it left only pockets of humanity stranded and squabbling for a meager existence. Marlo and Letta are kind of a thing after she nurses him back to health, but never actually become one. the lack of an overt loveydovey plotline really felt like great restraint by Forde. It let the drama in the novel be the drama of what is fundamentally these people’s cultural and literal survival, and I appreciate it.Their “savior” Noah thinks that language is the root of all humanity’s ills (after all, it was fancy words that dissuaded humanity from protecting earth before it was too late, smh) and he has a solution! Drop some poison in the water supply that erodes the frontal cortex and eliminates humans’ ability to use language! adds up. Letta, Marlo, and the gang hatch a plot to prevent this bullshit. maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. read the book, dummy.
Marlo, and the gang hatch a plot to prevent this bullshit. maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. read the book, dummy.
A huge thank you to Sourcebooks and Netgalley for allowing us to review this early. We were provided a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Sourcebooks was kind enough to send us a set of poetry magnets to assist in our review. I spent 4 Doctor Who episodes working this out. See below =)
that thing Parker lacks
There’s a lot of “oryx and crake” (Maggie Atwood) in here. thematic elements aside, there’s a quietness, a sparseness that fits the subject matter. the 3rd person narrator is limited to just Letta, and the voice it attains feels genuine to my ear.
4.85/5 forbidden “careless whisper” saxophone licks
moonshine, because it also makes me forget all my favorite words when I drink it