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Cure, by Michael Coleman
Published by Orchard Books
Paperback (Oct 2008)
Chris Burden review
meets "Annie" in this story full of life lessons for a
contemporary youth. Set in the year 274 AD (After Darwin) we are
granted access to an alternate version of what our world could become.
But dont be fooled, this is not historical fiction; it is
in fact science fiction. Set nearly 80 years into the future Coleman
creates a post-revolution world that has banned all religion and
instead follows the laws of Science, centred on the theories of
their "Saviour", Charles Darwin.
Set in a world that has been dramatically changed due to an act of terrorism
by religious extremists, "The Cure" could not be more relevant
to todays more socially aware youth. Many readers will be too young
to remember the exact events of 9/11 but they will have noticed how burdened
society has been as a result of it, including the ongoing activity in
the Middle East and Ukraine. This book is a welcome lesson to us all, teaching us
how not to deal with such actions, and re-establishing the importance
of faith in a world that has become much less stable in a short amount
The story focuses on fifteen-year-old orphan, Raul, as he starts to question
the world in which he lives. When it is discovered he is an "unbeliever"
of the imposed culture of his people he is sent to the Sanitarium to be
cured and re-indoctrinated into the system.
Coleman manages to create an entire new world, a world so different to
ours yet so familiar, with expertise and subtlety. His talent as a writer
is never in doubt, managing to make the mundane seem sublime, captivating
the readers imagination. Choosing dialogue rather than long descriptive
passages, Coleman allows the reader to discover this new world gradually
without giving away too much information too soon, enticing the reader
to read on and enter even further. My only criticism of this is that his
process is often too slow and too many questions are raised without answers
for too long, frustrating the reader. This could perhaps, however, be
Colemans intention, allowing the reader to empathise with the angry
Raul, frustrated at the establishment he no longer accepts. This would
be further emphasised by the delicate but believably sinister tone that
Coleman manages to inject into the story from the very first page, creating
an immediate distrust of the world in which Raul lives.
In a society that seems to grant celebrity status to any fool regardless
of talent, "The Cure" is a bright light through the fog. A sharp
satire on the celebrity culture, Coleman takes our obsession with the
famous and takes it to a new level, granting celebrities the position
of being blessed, replacing the religious Saints so many hold
dear today. In a humorous twist, though, the status of sainthood is regularly
taken away from the celebrities and given to the next rising star, a confirmation
of how the Cult of Celebrity is trespassing on the territory
of our lives previously occupied by religion.
"The Cure" is a well written, touching, coming-of-age adventure
that raises many issues for its readers to think about. His work
has the conviction that is needed to truly affect his readers. He puts
a new twist on an old story, while making it feel fresh and new, a task
not easily accomplished. An entertaining and interesting read, successfully
telling an old warning to a new generation.
© Chris Burden November 2007
* available in paperback
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