I was supposed to review this book months ago and in the midst of my health issues I was dealing with, I totally spaced on it! But luckily for me, Helen Smith is amazing to work with and laid back. To boot, she is a very skilled writer. The language of The Miracle Inspector is beautiful.
The Miracle Inspector is what I would call an adult dystopian novel. It is about a time in the near future where London has cut itself off from the outside world. Everything has to do with “protecting” the women from rapists, pedophiles, and terrorists.
Something crazy went down. There is a fence around London. Women have no rights. They barely leave the house. They can’t have jobs. They can’t socialize freely with other women and not with other men at all. The men all eventually disappear- killed or in prison. The lack of interaction for the women and between the sexes lends itself to a lot of immaturity, mistrust, confusion, fear, and naiveté.
The story is deceptively simple; there are actually complex layers though it doesn't read like a complex novel. It takes a while to get to the meat and action of the story but the road to get there is full of beautiful prose and complex characters so that you hardly notice that you haven't seen any action yet.
Smith's novel is the kind of book that leaves you with more questions than answers. It showcases the plights and struggles not only of being in a repressive regime, but of refugees, prisoners, and traffickers. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
reprobate pg. 3
prurient pg. 3
seditionist pg. 12
florid pg. 14
risibly pg. 15
opprobrium, pg. 74
“The letters assumed a wisdom and complexity in the reader, a level of sophistication that she didn’t have. She had barely traveled further than the edge of the kitchen table, and the reader of the letters- the legitimate reader- seemed to have seen and done so much. She wished she could have some experiences that would change her. She longed to see something of the rest of the world and learn from what she saw.” – pg. 38
“They sang with conviction. Jesmond had noticed that when men spent the evening singing rousing songs with other men, it tended to make them feel that victory was possible. In the early days he’d believed it was a good sign and that it meant these men would join the cause. But it hadn't happened. They’d just gone home again, as if singing was an end in itself. Maybe they remembered a time when you could still go to football matches, and the crowd would sing to urge their teams to victory, and take some of the credit for it when they did, and boo them when they lost. But singing was no way to seal victory in a revolution and it was certainly no substitute for action.” – pg. 84
“Life is a journey. A man may climb a mountain but what will he do when he gets to the top except talk about how he got there?” –pg. 94