The Stolen by Michelle Browne
The Stolen is made up of two novellas, “The Fields” and “The Word Thieves.”
“The Fields” opens in a prison during the evening hours. The inmates have just arrived at their newest “home.” The heroine, Clarice, is describing the accommodations, and lists her few possessions. She has managed to smuggle in a few necessary items.
After arising the next morning, the inmates are separated according to sex, as they prepare for breakfast. Many collapse from apparent or alleged stress, but the guards force them to their feet and make them continue onward.
They eat, and wear braces for forced good posture, attend etiquette classes, and work the fields. Contraband is confiscated and those holding such objects are harshly punished. Friendships are rare. Clarice has only one. The slaves begin to disappear one by one. Many inmates break down emotionally and simply disappear.
“The Stolen” cuts to the heart of many of society’s foolish rules. Browne speaks with a clarity that few of today’s authors can access.
“The Word Thieves”
Imagine a world where government employment consists of “un-writing” the greatest works of all time. People are employed to rewrite the works of literature and remove all references to anything that might be construed as passionate, or offensive or otherwise against the ToYoBiKo, the planet’s equivalent of the Good Book. Negative emotions are strongly discouraged. Strong emotions of any kind, for that matter, are not a good idea.
“The Word Thieves” is a work of pure genius, but is simultaneously a book of pure horror. Michelle Browne’s mind works in frightening ways, bringing forth ideas so realistic, so horrific that the reader knows, deep down, that someone, somewhere wishes that this nightmare world existed in reality.
This novel was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.