Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

September 20, 2022

Timely, unsettling novel about the choices women have to make.

I learned about this book from a moving piece by Alyssa Harad called To Live in the Ending—which I only landed on because of Longreads, one of my favorite places to wander and read.

I’m not sure any description I can offer will do it justice, and at times I wasn’t sure what I was even reading, but I loved it. The story follows several women in a small, seaside Oregon town in an uncomfortably-believable future where abortion has been outlawed and every child must have two parents. It explores womens’ motivations and roles against societal expectations in a way that’s varied and inventive. Dark, heavy, sometimes playful, ultimately hopeful. There’s a lot to contemplate and appreciate here, and inspiration to take from the writing style and story itself. (I’m annoyed with a specific character whose thoughts tumble exactly like mine; I laughed at their exquisite composition even when there was nothing funny about them.)

I get the feeling I could re-read this several times and keep finding new things, having only caught on to some symbolism at the end. Pretty sure I missed more.