My Rating: 4/5
Our Life in the Forest is a kind of modern Frankensteinesque story set in the near future where clones, or ‘halves’, are kept in an induced coma so that their organs may be available for replacement. The general public, particularly those of the ‘Generation’ are constantly sick due to pollution and modified foods, making organ replacement a common procedure.
Following a revelation about the true nature of the ‘halves’, psychoanalyst Vivianne/Marie finds herself joining a group of dissenters living in the forest, trying to make a new life in a world where robotic workers make surveillance constant and oppressive. Vivienne/Marie tells the story of growing up in that society, and gradually challenging and eventually rejecting its norms to try and find a new way to live.
This is a unique story that touches on life, personhood, surveillance, environment, class and even animal rights. Darrieussecq has done a wonderful job including so many ideas in a way that feels natural. As a reader, I felt invested in the characters and the world she created. The mysteries of this society continue to be unraveled throughout the story, leading up to a satisfying conclusion.
It’s a little difficult for me to rate the writing since this is translated from French, and I don’t know how much is authors intent and how much is the translation but it did feel a little unpolished and scattered in places. But overall I really enjoyed this book and will probably check out Darrieussecq’s other work!
I was provided a digital copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.