Metronome: The 'unputdownable' BBC Two Between the Covers Book Club Pick

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Metronome: The 'unputdownable' BBC Two Between the Covers Book Club Pick

Metronome: The 'unputdownable' BBC Two Between the Covers Book Club Pick

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It’s all very The Handmaid’s tale although we never find out what the rules are exactly and why they are in place. It takes some time before we learn what crime Aina and Whitney are guilty of, and when we realise, we see the horror that the world has become, it's so clever and so compelling, and nothing is as expected. There is no chance of escape, their survival relies on the dispensing of a tablet every twelve hours which keeps them alive. By taking the decision to have a child without obtaining official permission, Whitney and Aina are breaking the law.

In brief, Aina and Whitney have been exiled to an unknown island from an unknown country, and are tethered to a machine which dispenses a pill every eight hours that ensures their survival. Dystopian, suspenseful and atmospheric, the premise of this novel is that a married couple are coming to the end of their 12 year incarceration on a remote (fictional) island. Shipwrecks have begun washing up, supply drops have stopped and on the day their punishment is meant to end, the Warden does not come.If you like your books dark, dystopian and creepy, and you don’t mind not knowing exactly what is going on, then you’ll love this one. The sense of beauty of the island’s rugged landscape becomes lost with everyday living, time, and experience. How so much can happen and how the build-up of tension can be so tangible, with only so little elements to use. I loved the mention of Yan, tan, tethera, methera, pip and googled it as it sounded like an old song of sorts and it interested me. In the way Gormley chose those precise positions and locations at the University – what does that tell us – Watson as a verbal artist, places his characters where he chooses.

They’ve also scavenged as much as they can from the boats which wash up on the rocks surrounding the island, taking such things as mugs, waterproofs and any dried or tinned goods they can lay their hands on. I loved the premise of this book and had high hopes of learning more about a world which exiles people as punishment, making them dependant on pills for survival. Using flashbacks Watson takes us back to Aina and Whitney’s life in an unspecified country which is very much like ours, but with small yet noticeable differences. Does he like what’s going on in the world (at the time of writing Metronome it was the pandemic; at the time of writing this review, there is war in the Ukraine).The narrative ticktocks between the daily routine and the characters' inner thoughts, building tension as if towards a countdown however just like a metronome it simply becomes repetitive. Interesting then that Watson’s proof title for the book was ‘Not All that Is Hidden is Lost’ referencing the Hemingway theory again, where hidden could be taken to mean the future and lost being loss in a physical and emotional way.

Beautifully in fact, as we are literally exposed to the elements, so cleverly crafted in this debut novel. There is a clock/timer which dispenses the pills they must take each day and again, there is the image of time ticking, counting down. Despite its dystopian nature, it felt unsettlingly plausible, and this gave it a tense and chilling atmosphere. Although they've made preparations to leave because their sentence is over, their messages to the warden are going unheard. None of the characters had anything likeable about them, leaving me feeling strangely remote from the story.The book begins slowly but picks up speed and you hear the metronome ticking in your ear throughout. Whitney’s obeisance to the regime is particularly perplexing, most especially in being entirely unexamined.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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