Thursday, December 10, 2009


Beckett, Bernard. 2006/2009. Genesis. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 160 pages.

Anax moved down the long corridor.

The less you know going into this one the better. Trust me. What is it about? Well, it's about a young woman, Anaximander, who wants to enter the Academy. She is preparing for her four hour exam; in fact, most of the book is her oral exam. We read the examiners' questions and Anax's answers. Through this test, we as readers get introduced to this future world Beckett has created. Bit by bit. We learn about her society, its history, the wars, the conflicts, the simple (and not so simple) facts she grew up learning--and in this case--questioning. Because Anaximander is especially interested in one famous (legendary) man--Adam Forde--the novel revolves around key events in his life.

I must say this novel is unique. Mysterious and suspenseful. Thought-provoking. Interesting too. I'd definitely recommend it. It was a book that I just couldn't put down!

This one was originally published in New Zealand in 2006.

There are so many covers of this one out there--which one do you prefer?

Here are links to two more covers...that you may or may not want to see before you read it yourself! Italian cover. New Zealand Paperback.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Jeane 2:46 PM  

I haven't read the book, but those are some very interesting covers- I like the first two best. Or the last one, with all the leaves.

Elizabeth Scott 3:12 PM  

I have this in my (sadly enormous) TBR pile--I think I may have to move it up some!!

Ladybug 5:06 PM  

I read Genesis back in August/September and I liked it. It was quite a heavy read despite being a very short novel.

This is how the Norwegian cover looks.

Alessandra 6:45 AM  

I hadn't heard of this book before, and didn't know it was already out in Italian. My, does the Italian cover look awful! It's so ugly I'd be too scared to pick the book up, let alone read it.

My favourite cover is the second you posted, the one with the flame.

Alessandra 6:47 AM  

Ok, so we know there are big monkeys in this book. At least the one in the New Zealand cover looks a lot friendlier than the one on the Italian cover. Ugh.

Alessandra 2:34 AM  

I went to the library yesterday after reading your review, and found that they have a copy of the Italian translation of Genesis. I took it home and read it last night in one sitting. I can only say: WOW. Wow wow wow wow.

Something that left me a bit puzzled: I wonder why practically all the female characters mentioned in the book have male names? With the exception of Helena and Eve, all the other females in the book have Greek male names. Anaximander, Thales, Aristotle, ... Maybe because there weren't female philosophers in ancient Greece? (Not that I know of, anyway).

Michelle 6:24 AM  

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as well. It was a surprisingly quick read given the philisophical nature (at times). It was a quite thought provoking take on oral history and how it impacts the individual and the future.

Glad you enjoyed it.

Beth F 2:45 PM  

The less they know the better -- agreed. You did a nice job with the review. I struggled with mine. My favorite cover is the one you have the top of the post. Especially after having finished the book.

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