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Vox Bets On...


September 2018

I heard Christina Dalcher talk about VOX at a breakfast at BookExpo. Interestingly, she has taught linguistics, phonics and phonology, which gives her expertise about voice and being heard. In VOX, women in this country have been told that they are not allowed more than 100 words a day; by comparison, the average person speaks about 16,000 words (though somewhere I saw that women speak 20,000). Each woman wears a wristband, which has been calibrated to capture the modulation of her voice. At word 101, a shock is delivered to the wrist, which escalates exponentially as more words are shared. Soon there are more and more restrictions on women as they realize that, without their voices, the circle of their lives gets smaller, leading to desperate measures by many of them.

Dr. Jean McClellan is fighting this word ban, seeing what its effects are on society around her. She watches her young daughter, Sonia, withdrawing as Sonia is whispering mere words a day. So when Jean gets a chance to do something to avoid this ban, she leaps at it. And from there, the book takes on a very fast pace. Jean starts to unfold clues that the project she is being brought on to do is not what it seems.

VOX is a book that defies genres. It is at once a thriller, dystopian and women’s fiction. For the record, I am not a fan of dystopian works, so I clearly saw the story as bigger than that definition. Its plot is creative, and the pacing of it is brisk. I dare you to read it and then not think about counting the words you say.

There have been many comparisons of VOX to THE HANDMAID’S TALE. I have not read the latter, though I watched season one of the show on Hulu and clearly can see where these comparisons come from. Bookreporter readers know that I stay away from politics on this site, so know that my comments on this book have nothing to do with politics. I just appreciated it as a title that made me think “What if?” In a book group? You could have a great discussion about VOX.

by Christina Dalcher

  • Publication Date: July 16, 2019
  • Genres: Dystopian, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • ISBN-10: 0440000815
  • ISBN-13: 9780440000815