Buy The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall from Amazon’s Fiction Books Store. Everyday low prices on a huge range of new releases and classic fiction. Winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize England is in a state of environmental and economic crisis. Under the repressive regime of The Authority, citizens have . The Carhullan Army, By Sarah Hall. Gun-toting Amazons make a last stand for freedom in this futuristic fable. Reviewed by Rachel Hore.

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I did think that the particular climate issues driving the dystopia were super British – changing temperatures in mountainous areas was an issue back when I was in Scotland, over 1 This is a hard one to review because I liked so much about it and the book club discussion was really interesting.

It was described to me as The Handmaid’s Tale meets Children of Menbut having read both, I’d say that description doesn’t at all do it justice.

But I’d say that’s where the similarities end. Confined to the town where they first registered, billeted two or three to a room in run-down terraces, people stumble through meaningless factory jobs and numb themselves with cheap narcotics.

Rather than enhancing the narrative it made me sit outside of it, consciously questioning the choices made by the author. For while so much of the narrative expounds on personal interactions, through the corner of your eye you get a full and harrowing amry of what’s going on in the world.

Just to get in the practice of killing.

It was employed just infrequently enough to make it clear that the author had problems with time transitions. Feminist and environmentalist themes about.

The Carhullan Army: a near-future struggle that feels all too close

In all her three novels, Hall has written the landscape almost as if it were another character. She even falls in love — with another woman. Her account is detached and dispassionate, written in prose as crystalline and craggy as the landscape, its unexpected usages – “jeoparding”, “prideful” – lending it weight. The aim behind Carhullan is not just survival: Their marriage is falling apart. The narrator makes a big deal out of insisting that the group is not a cult and that its leader, Jackie, is not crazy.


James’s The Children of MenHall’s dystopian landscape is far too close for comfort, the confession form giving her prose an economy and urgency not present in the expansive tapestry of her Booker-shortlisted The Electric Michelangelo.

I hated the narrator and the book within the first five pages, and I didn’t stop hating them until the very last sentence.

Twisted sisters

It’s a near-future England. Everything is reported in the first person. The quality of The Carhullan Army was simply unignorable.

The carhu,lan is the Eden Valley with the story based on a dystopian future in which Penrith is under siege from the ‘Authority’. If the Handmaid’s Tale is the original furious-but-terrified reproductive rights cultural allegory, then Daughters of the North is TNG.

I might have walked away completely, avoided her carhullaj the farm, to make it all easier, for myself at least, attempting to convert the relationship into a mistake in my head. Hall’s acidic poetry follows through in The Carhullan Army ‘. She’s also heard that sometimes supply trains get raided by unofficials and the citizens are regularly told “Nothing to see here. Things that I had not particularly registered came arym sharp focus through my disagreeing or concurring with others.

You already spilled the beans.

There was not a soul to be found and I liked it. They decide the time has come to fight the enemy, before they are crushed, and the violence and uncompromising insistence on loyalty among them makes one wonder whether the lengths they go to are justified. Along the way, civil society has disintegrated and democracy has been replaced by a totalitarian regime known only as the Authority, which has imposed strict control on the population under the disguise of a recovery plan – population is made to live in communal housing in isolated Sarah Hall’s The Carhullan Army takes place in northern Britain in the future, after an unnamed environmental catastrophe has totally changed the island’s weather and replaced it with a climate that’s almost tropical.

The woman we know only as Sister decides to leave her husband in her home in war-ravaged Britain, deciding to no longer live under the eye of The Authority and their oppressive regime and mandatory contraceptive devices.

The Carhullan Army: a near-future struggle that feels all too close | Books | The Guardian

I read quite a bit of dystopian fiction and neither writing nor characterisation struck me as outstanding here. Mar 20, Sarah rated it it was amazing Shelves: I had a lot of problems with this book.


It was beautiful to walk in. Except that Sister is having none of it. Sister has one of the meaningless jobs in a nearby factory. The village reverberated with silence, with human absence. The Thames bursts its barrier and floods the Palace of Westminster. And like The Handmaid’s Tale the whole thing is told in the first person with flashbacks and very little exposition about how things have gone horribly wrong.

She’s indoctrinated into what some might call a fanatical cause.

Stern, murmurous protests against the folly and injustice of modern life, they typically enclose us and their sacrificial heroines in a tunnel of pessimism to focus our eyes on an eco-feminist light glowing faintly at the end. In fact, later in the book Jackie reveals that the King has died and there will be no succession to the throne. This is the story of Sister’s escape, her earning her place with the “unofficial women” to varhullan doing what needs to be done.

It was a real page-turner.

She simply gave us the power to remake ourselves into those inviolable creatures A worthy entry into the feminist dystopian canon. Although there are some gentler souls among its members, such as Lorry, the year-old midwife, doctor and vet, the majority are “violent, outspoken, socially inept, promiscuous, drug-addicted and aware that they need some kind of system to bring them down”.

Just as she gives her central character no name, so Hall allows the reader no chance to identify with her emotionally. They were rumou Ugh. Rich and exhilarating as it is disturbing. That women could harness a very militant side of themselves if that was encouraged and trained for, and that such a side might be a necessary component of being taken seriously and equally in other arenas.

Sitting beside me she seemed too inanimate for her voltage, too kinetic under her restfulness.