Monday, January 29, 2018

The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch review – the future is medieval

Joan of Arc and Christine de Pizan are reimagined in a post-apocalyptic dystopia, in this compellingly ambitious examination of gender, semiotics and warfare.

One premise of The Book of Joan is that the 21st century, for all its technological advances, has returned us to pre-modern levels of brutality and strife. There are children fighting once again; there are religious crusades; land is seized at will. Yuknavitch takes three real people from medieval France and reimagines them in a post-apocalyptic future.

The narrative mode is to show through dramatic, often moving scenes, and then to tell, reflecting on them analytically. This disjunction can be jarring, but it’s knowingly done, because the book’s style is itself a theme.

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