This appeared in the INDIAN EXPRESS (Sunday, 23rd November 2008) -- and is what I would call a GOOD review. By Uma Mahadevan-Dasgupta.
Here's the opening passage:
Who needs women when there’s genetic engineering?
by Uma Mahadevan-Dasgupta
“Interviewer: What term would you use for annihilating two-thirds of your population?
General: Drain-clearing. Our world was suffocating in its own excrement. No one could face the solution — and why? Because of a tired old myth called the ‘Sanctity of Life’!”
Manjula Padmanabhan’s Escape is set in a dystopian future, in a wasteland presided over by Generals who reject uniqueness and individuality as well as the natural processes of birth and death in favour of genetic engineering and cloning — or, as they call it, “regeneration” — and who, therefore, see no need for women (whom they call the “Vermin Tribe”) in this artificially controlled world. Even language has been stripped down and shaped to suit the requirements of this new world — the past is the “Time Before”, distortion is “sculpture”, and even proper names are strictly limited to an approved list.
In this particular domain served by manufactured “Drones” and guarded by packs of vicious “Boyz”, the General has managed to get rid of almost all the women, including the little girls — which is why it is so important that Meiji, the young female protagonist of the novel, should be safely taken away from this land ...
Meanwhile, here's a BOOK READING UPDATE for CHENNAI:
DATE: 30th NOVEMBER 2008
TIME: 6.30 pm
PLACE: "PASHA", The PARK, Nungumbakkam High Rd.
No invitations necessary, just come.
And this appeared on Nov 25th in Business Standard in Nilanjana Roy's book column. A gentle reminder that gender-experimental writing has been around for a while ...