This book hits right in the sweetspot between the dystopian nightmare envisioned by so many books and movies, and where we are this very day. In quiet moments when my mind wanders and I reflect on some issue or other, I find myself confused whether the source was from the book or actual real life. The same happens when chatting with my wife; I'll be telling her aome crazy thing that happened and halfway through the conversation I'll realize it happened in Anacosta and not in DC. That, for me, is the very definition of a GREAT READ!
Just finished this book yesterday and what a time to be reading it! I've got a long history of reading and loving dystopian novels and short stories - I started around the age of 10 with "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, and I remember thinking at that time that there would never be a world where this would happen, but just recently I read a column associating the premise of "The Lottery" with " a human need for scapegoats and thus... a haunting resonance for COVID-times" So no matter how unreal and bizarre you might think this kind of world is, I don't think one can ever say never. I could see a lot of parallels with today's "woke" society, and then the whole thing blew up as I was actually living in real time during this social media censorship. Then the attack on the Capitol, and suddenly Paula Weiss' gripping story was not so far-fetched. To those saying this is right-wing claptrap, maybe you'd like to saunter over to the reviews of Orwell's 1984. But of course we're looking at reviews by people who weren't around when Orwell published it in 1949, and are looking through the lens of actual history. So those who think it's unlikely or impossible, I'm sorry that it wasn't a good read for you. But it was a very good read for me! And the ending brought the hopefulness of a happy future which was very inspiring.
The Antifan Girlfriend is a chilling and prescient warning about a fictional but not-so-unrealistic American future. This story will keep you turning pages as (some) characters gradually realize what they and their country have become - the antithesis of everything that social justice proponents promised. As in every totalitarian system, the politically privileged become tyrants who impose their will on those outside of the power structure. In this society, there is no equality, much less equity. This story blends elements from Orwell's 1984 and other dystopian classics with the reality of life in communist countries (particularly China and its social credit scores). You will find yourself rooting for Malia and David as they grow to realize that life in a woke society is soul killing. The Antifan Girlfriend is a compelling and disturbing novel. Read it!
Great novel if you want to think about where woke politics, soft totalitarian Democrat policy, and 'social credit scores' via big tech, will take our society. The author put all this a bit far in the future -- after a big Civil War. I think we are much closer than that. She does a great job showing how socialism, and lack of freedom change even the way people behave in romantic relationships, including the ones that the heroine finds herself in. Fabulous little portraits of how academia dies, and books are hidden away, and how people who cling to religion and conservative values get marginalized. For all those ideas, the plot moves quickly and I kept reading till the end.
Human nature always prevails In this fascinating dystopian novel, Paula Weiss shows us one possible future in which present-day America ends up splintered into two separate countries. I'm not inclined to quibble about what the future really looks like some 70 years hence, so I found her world clear, compelling and recognizable. More importantly, I found her characters authentic and familiar. We all know someone who reminds us of each of the main characters. That, combined with her lucid writing style make the book an interesting read. But what really sets the novel apart, and puts it into the category of timeless fiction, is the way she captures the triumph of the human spirit. Bravo!
A prophetic page-turner I like dystopian novels and this is one of the best I've read. Its predictions are extensions of trends we're seeing now, so they ring true. What I especially like is that the characters also ring true, something that I haven't always seen in this genre. Some authors are so eager to get their political or philosophical point across that the characters and the plot seem secondary. Here, the people are real and interesting and the plot makes it a book I found myself reading late into the night.
Could not put it down. A true thriller with a political twist. A frightening look at what our future could look like. I can't wait for the sequel.
Scary how possible this all is in our current situation. Great character development for a first time novelist. It also flowed well.
I’m not much of a fan of dystopian novels, but I loved this one. While I’ve read the dystopian classics, I’m not much a fan of the genre. Still, this was a page turner and I brisked through the 500+ pages from Jan 17 until yesterday. While Weiss delved into gruesome topics the insights into what could happen in the next 69 years it was the promise of hope which kept me going. (Fortunately, I’ll be passed on by that time, but I may have grandchildren who could be fighting the great fight to get out of the DJR and into the US where freedom, with its flaws and complexities, still exists). The characters are believable and the plot twists consistent with what we see to be the trajectory of our current debate between red and blue. Having lived abroad for twenty years I think that often those who have only lived in America cannot envision how fragile is our democracy. Each election can move us in one direction or another. What is your vision for your grandchildren? This novel, albeit it painful to read at times, reminds one of what we want to preserve. Written prior to the 2020 election, Weiss’ analysis of the democratic process and understanding of bureaucratic organizations shines through. The following brought tears to my eyes as I thought of what has come to pass: “Because the US press isn’t controlled by the government,” said David. “Different media outlets exist across the political spectrum and they are free to report and argue and have different opinions. There are papers that cater to people of different ethic backgrounds, too. A paper that is writing for an African-American readership won’t survive if it peddles lies about what’s happening to black people.” All voices, in a Democracy, must be heard and Weiss argues, subtly, that today’s politically correct speech, could end up as tomorrow’s repression. Without the socially constructed trappings of blood kin, the sanctity of marriage, monogamy, and religion that speaks to the communal spirit, what justification do we have for giving our lives for others? The Antifan Girlfriend asks these questions for us all to consider as we make our individual choices. Prescient is Antifan Girlfriend. Who would have thought when Weiss began this novel in March 2020 that today we would have followed the retina scanning, finger printing, body scanning at airports with enforced masking, cancelling of in person religious worship, theatre attendance, Toastmaster meetings and so many of our civic activities by virtual of usually blue governments? Possibly mandated vaccines for travel. Who would have thought it? Weiss, a historian, political scientist and a government servant has done us a service in writing this novel. In a world where the left suggests that “honor” is not one of the most critical characteristics to bring to the table she asks her readers just how much they are willing to exchange for the “good life”.