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J

by Howard Jacobson

Does every society need its scapegoats? This timely speculative fiction presents a sinister dystopia of the near-future, where, in an ominously compliant society, suffering from collective amnesia and confusion, paranoia and suspicion are rife. This unsettling portrayal of a society, closely mirroring worrying aspects of our own, makes for an uncomfortable read, but demands and rewards our attention with the nightmarish twist at the end.

Extract

You have to see a version of yourself - where you've come from or where you might, if you aren't careful, end up -- before you can do the cheek-to-cheek of hate. Family lineaments must be discerned. A reflection you cannot bear to see. An echo you cannot bear to hear. In other words, you must have chewed on the same bone of moral philosophy, subscribed to a similar spirituality and even, at some point in the not too distant past, have worshipped at the same shrines. It was difference where there was so much that was similar that accounted for the unique antipathy of which they were in search. And only one people with one set of prints fitted that bill.

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