Editorial Review: Children of Eve by Andrew Wilson
Children of Eve by Andrew Wilson is an uncompromising view of a dystopian future in which there is nothing left but a desperate fight for survival.
Wilson’s foreword acknowledges that the novella is violent, but he is correct when pointing out that the violence is contextual rather than gratuitous. There is simply no escape from the fierce reality that he describes in a world where it is a strength that holds power and the weak that are enslaved until they die.
The book traces the journey of a mother with two young children who she will do anything to nourish and protect. As the ability to scavenge food reduces, and the danger of approaching rapacious and murderous gangs increases; she sets out to trek across the country to where she hopes there will be fewer people and thus greater safety.
Wilson keeps upping the ante as the danger they face, the depravity we witness and the extreme lengths the mother will take keep increasing.
The lack of humanity and compassion is heightened by the absence of backstory and the deliberate avoidance of naming the mother, the boy or the girl. Apart from the suggestion of a name in the title, which may be metaphorical, we know nothing of how the mother developed the dread fighting skills that keep her alive as she kills those who threaten her children or her own survival. We only know the fierceness of her motivation as she recalls the rape and brutalization that led to her determination to fight back.
The men she encounters are more likely to be named by profession or purpose, with only the “kings” of territory granted a name, along with the power they have snatched in the vacuum created by the complete collapse of civilization.
As in the book’s title, the story develops the origin of life theme with a layer of mysticism that suggests all must be destroyed before the hope of rebirth can begin.
Wilson is a confident writer, determined to hone his craft to ensure maximum of story-telling power in the tighter confines of the novella format. The Children of Eve can be consumed in a single “movie-length” sitting; and is gripping enough to keep the reader turning the pages.
This is not a light-hearted, easy read; and some readers will find the level of violence unacceptable, even if it is contextually appropriate. However, even though it may be a daunting insight into the worst aspects of humanity, The Children of Eve is a well-written, engaging, and thought-provoking examination of a future that we should make all attempts to avoid.