The Wall
The best-selling author of The Debt to Pleasure and Capital returns with a chilling fable for our time.Ravaged by the Change, an island nation in a time very like our own has built the Wall—an enormous concrete barrier around its entire border. Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are trapped amid the rising seas outside and attack constantly. Failure will result in death or a fate perhaps worse: being put to sea and made an Other himself. Beset by cold, loneliness, and fear, Kavanagh tries to fulfill his duties to his demanding Captain and Sergeant, even as he grows closer to his fellow Defenders. And then the Others attack. . . .Acclaimed British novelist John Lanchester, “a writer of rare intelligence” (Los Angeles Times), delivers a taut dystopian novel that blends the most compelling issues of our time—rising waters, rising fear, rising political division—into a suspenseful story of love, trust, and survival.

The Wall Details

TitleThe Wall
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 5th, 2019
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
ISBN-139781324001638
Rating
GenreFiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia

The Wall Review

  • Peter Boyle
    January 1, 1970
    We're not short on dystopian stories these days. One would think that readers might like to escape the daily news cycle of doom and gloom, but our appetite for apocalyptic thrillers shows no signs of abating. The Wall is one of the more considered and thoughtful offerings. If you're a fan of the kind of speculative fiction that Margaret Atwood does so well, you might want to check it out.The story is set sometime in the near future. A major climate event has occurred, causing sea levels to rise. We're not short on dystopian stories these days. One would think that readers might like to escape the daily news cycle of doom and gloom, but our appetite for apocalyptic thrillers shows no signs of abating. The Wall is one of the more considered and thoughtful offerings. If you're a fan of the kind of speculative fiction that Margaret Atwood does so well, you might want to check it out.The story is set sometime in the near future. A major climate event has occurred, causing sea levels to rise. There are no beaches left in the world. Many countries have built a wall around their entire coastline, to stop the ocean from encroaching, but also to prevent migrants (or Others as they are called) from entering. In Britain, it is mandatory for young people to carry out national service, protecting the border. The draftees who serve on the Wall are known as Defenders, trained to kill Others who attempt to enter the country via sea. Kavanagh is one such Defender and he is our narrator.Understandably, there is a sense of resentment among Kavanagh and his peers. They have never experienced a world that wasn't ravaged by climate change. But their parents have, and it "broke on their watch." Home on leave between Wall shifts, Kavanagh can't even look his folks in the eye: "... the Change was not a single solitary event. We speak of it in that manner because here we experienced one particular shift, of sea level and weather, over a period of years it is true, but it felt then and when we look back on it today still feels like an incident that happened, a defined moment in time with a before and an after. There was our parents’ world, and now there is our world."It's not hard to read between the lines and uncover the allegorical meanings at play. John Lanchester pores over the same news headlines as the rest of us. This story is an amalgamation of our present fears: Brexit, Trump's Mexican wall, the rise of anti-immigration sentiment, irreversible climate change. He dares to imagine the worst possible scenario and what makes this novel so terrifying is that it's all so plausible. We are sleepwalking our way into a monumental environmental catastrophe, but world leaders remain focused on growing their economies.The Wall is a wake-up call, but it's also a riveting and suspenseful read. Lanchester wraps an exciting story around our current anxieties. It's written in a very direct style and I imagine many will devour it in a single sitting. It may not be the most hopeful or heartwarming tale, but it packs a mighty punch.
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  • Meike
    January 1, 1970
    The genius of Lanchester's "The Wall" is that this dystopia simply envisions what might happen if we go on like this: The sea levels have risen dramatically due to climate change, Britain has build a wall around the whole island, and people who flee from the South to the North are combated like enemies in a war. Is this the most subtle book ever written? Hell no, but this author does not seem to think that the problems we are facing scream for excessive subtlety, and I don't blame him for it. At The genius of Lanchester's "The Wall" is that this dystopia simply envisions what might happen if we go on like this: The sea levels have risen dramatically due to climate change, Britain has build a wall around the whole island, and people who flee from the South to the North are combated like enemies in a war. Is this the most subtle book ever written? Hell no, but this author does not seem to think that the problems we are facing scream for excessive subtlety, and I don't blame him for it. At the beginning of the book, our narrator Joseph Kavanagh starts his mandatory military service as a "Defender" (yes, there's some newspeak - hello, Orwell!): At all times, 50.000 enlistees are standing on the defense wall to keep "the Others" out. Vast parts of the first third of the book mirror the mixture of boredom, fear, and anger that possesses the soldiers during their service, and Lanchester develops a theme that proved to be the most fascinating to me: He questions the dynamics of blame, guilt and responsibility. Young people blame their parents for letting "the Change" (i.e. climate change) happen, but the majority of society as a whole approves of the wall, the killing and the enslavement of refugees and also the fact that those "Defenders" who fail to keep foreigners out are themselves exiled to the sea - so almost every young person is threatened to become one of "the Others", and what would happen then? When finally a big attack occurs, the novel gains speed and becomes a real page-turner. I was particularly fascinated by the role of a high-ranking soldier who was one of the last refugees who made it into the country without being killed and then became a "Defender" - this character illustrates the connection between perspective, fear, and ethics. At the same time, Kavanagh is sometimes hard to bear as a narrator: He feels victimized and constantly expects people to apologize (which they don't do) without realizing that he himself - a guy who borrows slaves and stands on a wall to kill refugees - certainly cannot claim innocence or moral superiority. In this story, most people point their fingers at each other and do nothing, which is of course how all great man-made catastrophes happen. So all in all, this book is a little crude, and it's not the most literary text ever written - which at the same time makes sense, of course, because the narrative voice is true to Kavanagh, the narrator. You have to give it to Lanchester though that he talks about important issues and points out the cynicism that is at the heart of right-wing nationalism. And while Lanchester claims that Brexit wasn't his main focus when he wrote the book, though he was certainly influenced by it, the book is clearly more terrifying if you have been following British politics, which is currently operating in a mode of self-destruction. This doesn't mean that this book isn't relevant for and reflective of tendencies in other parts of the world as well. For me as a citizen of a country that was divided by a wall where refugees did get shot, it's aggravating to think that walls are still discussed as policy, when in fact they are a means of war.
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  • Ron Charles
    January 1, 1970
    John Lanchester’s new novel, “The Wall,” sounds like the best-timed book of the year. It arrives smack dab in the heat of a constitutional crisis over President Trump’s determination to build a barrier along our southern border — Congress be damned.Lanchester, who lives in London, is well-equipped to write about this confrontation tearing up America. Not only is he one of the best financial journalists, he’s also a novelist with a keen eye for how politics and money corral ordinary people’s live John Lanchester’s new novel, “The Wall,” sounds like the best-timed book of the year. It arrives smack dab in the heat of a constitutional crisis over President Trump’s determination to build a barrier along our southern border — Congress be damned.Lanchester, who lives in London, is well-equipped to write about this confrontation tearing up America. Not only is he one of the best financial journalists, he’s also a novelist with a keen eye for how politics and money corral ordinary people’s lives.But Lanchester doesn’t mention Trump or his wall in “The Wall.” He doesn’t mention the United States or Britain, where Brexit has arisen from a similar hostility toward immigrants. Instead, he abandons the sharp realism of his previous novels, such as “Capital,” and gives us a fable about a wall.This is not so much a departure from Trump’s rhetoric as an attempt to make it concrete. After all, the president has been spinning fables about his “beautiful wall” for years. Lanchester merely imagines such a structure completed on a colossal scale, and then he speculates about the paranoid society that would. . . .To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post:https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...
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  • Ova - Excuse My Reading
    January 1, 1970
    A brave new world for millennials, this is.Full review soon
  • Navidad Thélamour
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come!
  • Jonathan Pool
    January 1, 1970
    June 16, 2015: ... Donald Trump announces his campaign for the presidency and first mentions his idea to build a southern border wall.“I will build a great wall ― and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me ―and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words John Lanchester chose a great title for his latest novel. It’s unambiguous, it has immediate resonation in this divided world, and M June 16, 2015: ... Donald Trump announces his campaign for the presidency and first mentions his idea to build a southern border wall.“I will build a great wall ― and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me ―and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words John Lanchester chose a great title for his latest novel. It’s unambiguous, it has immediate resonation in this divided world, and Mr Trump continues to provide comment and tweets on the most contentious of all his election pledges.Lanchester’s The Wall does feature a wall as a physical barrier. The sense of fear, and of hostility is ever present.(While the proposed Mexican border wall is the one that generates most publicity, Lancaster made a very interesting point about the proliferation of other walls- see notes from his talk).The Wall is very much an environmental book too, and the consequences of global warming (another Trump ignorance) is more subtlety presented in a world set not too far in the future (definitive dates, and locations are not spelled out).The writing style is deliberately stripped down, and stark. You wouldn’t know this was the same author who wrote Capital . Most of the characters are exhausted and focus on basic survival.There is one character who has strayed into the narrative from Lanchester’s social and political commentaries:“ a member of the elite who was clever at being popular with ordinary people” (137)***I was in the audience for a discussion with John Lanchester at the Brighton Waterstones on 21st Feb 2019.Lanchester is an engaging interviewee.1. Introducing The Wall: The book revolves around ‘catastrophic’ climate change. If you google ‘4 degrees centigrade increase in temperature’, be prepared to be shocked by the cataclysmic effects on major urban concentrations that would follow.Lanchester thought about writing into the novel what the consequences would be on the UK If the Gulf Stream was to change course.Gaia principle proposes that the living conditions on the planet are not just determined by Homo sapiens The hypothesis formulated by the chemist James Lovelock is that Earth gets rid of us.2. Golden age of walls going up. Tim Marshall. Divided - Why We’re Living In An Age Of WallsWestern SaharaIndia/PakistanPalestineBirch Wall, N. AustraliaLots of high tech walls under constructionThe Wall: a 2,000 mile border journey. A mesmerising YouTube study- watch it!!3. Concept of National Service.Actually quite recent, parents generation. Still in Europe- Switzerland.(Conscription is an underlying premises in the book)4. Question of “agency”. Collective action. No personal lever to pull. Battery driven cars, for example, are OK, but not enough in isolation. Nothing connected on a global scale(What can be done to prevent climate change)5. On the meaning of the book- and whether it is upbeat or downbeat: Too much explanation (by the author) is a trap, that can kill fiction. JL wrote a separate non fiction book (at time of Capital ) to quarantine the facts he had researched.6. Hong Kong (where JL grew up) and Boat People- 2.5 million successfully resettled. It can/ should be done.(discussion of the forced migration of people’s, especially in the Mediterranean, fleeing the conflict in Syria)7. Book’s end- variety of responses-JL wanted that. Telling people what to think- EM Forster- a moral report card- is not JL’s aim.8. Seriousness of the book. Humour let’s you pull back... hence there is none.The Wall is a thoroughly contemporary book. It’s dystopian in the most alarming of ways, because it’s so imaginable.I enjoyed this thought provoking book very much indeed.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    When non-genre authors write genre fiction (in this case cli-fi, sci-fi or future history genre), they never seen willing to flesh out the details, leaving the reader having to make it up in their head.I wanted to know more about the political situation, I wanted to know more about the climate change impacts on the world of The Wall. I wanted to know more about The Captain's experience as an Other, and to know more about the people in Britain who wanted Others to be treated better.Instead, all I When non-genre authors write genre fiction (in this case cli-fi, sci-fi or future history genre), they never seen willing to flesh out the details, leaving the reader having to make it up in their head.I wanted to know more about the political situation, I wanted to know more about the climate change impacts on the world of The Wall. I wanted to know more about The Captain's experience as an Other, and to know more about the people in Britain who wanted Others to be treated better.Instead, all I got was the story of two teenagers put in an awful personal situation. This book reminded me so much of Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" which also kept the reader in the dark about the political situations that led to the horror of the novel.So what I want to know is: is this a failure of imagination by the author, or is it that they can't bring themselves to be tarnished with the genre brush, so they leave details as vague as possible. I have to say I was disappointed as the set up was brilliant, but the denouement was incredibly disappointing and left me as the reader hanging in mid-air much in the way Hifa and Kavanaugh were at the end of the book.
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  • Karen Whittaker
    January 1, 1970
    John Lanchester is an established author with a big fan base and so when I saw that the Telegraph Book Club had chosen this book as its book of the month for February I felt I could not go far wrong. All the reviews I read beforehand indicated that this book was the Orwell "1984" of its time.So definitely not the case in my opinion.This book has at one point in the early stages a long list of words repeated over and over again - particularly the word "concrete". How boring is a list of words you John Lanchester is an established author with a big fan base and so when I saw that the Telegraph Book Club had chosen this book as its book of the month for February I felt I could not go far wrong. All the reviews I read beforehand indicated that this book was the Orwell "1984" of its time.So definitely not the case in my opinion.This book has at one point in the early stages a long list of words repeated over and over again - particularly the word "concrete". How boring is a list of words you might say? Yes. It is. Very boring. As is the book.There is really no plot. Nothing really happens. Page after page of boring dialogue about what it is like to guard a concrete wall for hours on end. None of the characters have any substance at all, there is no depth to their feelings or thoughts (maybe that's what the author feels we will all be like in the future), no action, nothing. There is no action. I longed to turn the page and find a mad manic plot twist, a strange course of action to attract my attention. Sorry. That doesn't happen.I might have enjoyed the book more if the language had been evocative or interesting or visually descriptive. But no. Lots of boring simple sentences, with boring simple words.I can only think that this novel will appeal to those doom mongers among us - climate change, illegal immigrants coming across the channel to take our livelihoods, low birth rates, a lack of joy in any recreational pursuit, a relentless toil to fund a capitalist economy.Once again, not a book I would want to read again. I certainly wouldn't recommend it (unless you fall in the category of individual described in the paragraph above!) and sadly, this does not make me want to read any of his other novels.This review also appears on my blog page - https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blo...
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  • jeremy
    January 1, 1970
    while it may well be compelling on the screen (surely a cinematic adaptation is inevitable?), john lanchester's the wall is mostly underwhelming on the page. another entry in the ever burgeoning dystopian subgenre of climate fiction (or 'CliFi' for those with the compulsion to spare themselves a pair of extra syllables), the wall is set in an indeterminate future within an unnamed country—one forced to erect a giant wall around its borders so as to stave off 'the others' bent on attacking or fin while it may well be compelling on the screen (surely a cinematic adaptation is inevitable?), john lanchester's the wall is mostly underwhelming on the page. another entry in the ever burgeoning dystopian subgenre of climate fiction (or 'CliFi' for those with the compulsion to spare themselves a pair of extra syllables), the wall is set in an indeterminate future within an unnamed country—one forced to erect a giant wall around its borders so as to stave off 'the others' bent on attacking or finding safer refuge after the global effects of climate change have ravished the planet. more an adventure tale of survival than an imaginative look at what our warming future may bring, lanchester's novel is mostly action, thin as it is on characterization. a fun(ish) but ultimately forgettable read, the wall doesn't quite ascend to aspired heights.none of us can talk to our parents. by "us" i mean my generation, people born after the Change. you know that thing where you break up with someone and say, it's not you, it's me? this is the opposite. it's not us, it's them. everyone knows what the problem is. the diagnosis isn't hard—the diagnosis isn't even controversial. it's guilt: mass guilt, generational guilt. the olds feel they irretrievably fucked up the world, then allowed us to be born into it. you know what? it's true. that's exactly what they did. they know it, we know it. everybody knows it.*2.5 stars
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  • Kathryn
    January 1, 1970
    This is a slender book and so should have been a quick read but I found myself slowing right down in order to read every single word. Not a lot happens and by the end everything, and nothing, has changed. It's really beautiful and it's made me think a lot about asylum seekers and what else I, personally, can do today to help slow climate change.
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  • Tommi
    January 1, 1970
    Timely but lacks nuance. A very focused novel, a quickly read dystopia, but perhaps too simple in ideas. Worked nicely as an audiobook.
  • Ian Mond
    January 1, 1970
    What foresight on the part of Faber & Faber to publish John Lanchester’s fifth novel, The Wall, in late January at the height of the partial shutdown of the United States’ Government over illegal immigration, refugee caravans and a border wall. Maybe Russian trolls aren’t to blame for the Trump presidency, maybe this has been a long game on the part of Faber’s marketing team. The conspiracy nuts on YouTube need to take a closer look.The Wall is set sometime in the future. The Anthropocene - What foresight on the part of Faber & Faber to publish John Lanchester’s fifth novel, The Wall, in late January at the height of the partial shutdown of the United States’ Government over illegal immigration, refugee caravans and a border wall. Maybe Russian trolls aren’t to blame for the Trump presidency, maybe this has been a long game on the part of Faber’s marketing team. The conspiracy nuts on YouTube need to take a closer look.The Wall is set sometime in the future. The Anthropocene - described by the characters as “The Change” - is in full effect, with thousands of people fleeing countries that are either underwater or devastated by drought. They are headed for places like England where the impact of climate change is not as apparent (though resources are scarce). The English Government has given these people the dehumanizing label “The Other” and, to stop them from entering the country, has constructed a massive edifice to span the border. Each citizen over a certain age is required, Game of Thrones style, to spend two years guarding the Wall, killing any “Other” who gets within spitting distance. Our very reluctant protagonist, Joseph Kavanagh, is about to start his tour of duty. He’s not looking forward to the freezing cold, or the tedium of standing guard for twelve hours straight, the only distraction the tea lady who does her rounds twice a day, or the likely possibility that he will be required to kill an “Other” as they attempt to breach the wall.While the prose is engaging and I liked Joseph as a person once the ground-rules and the world-building are established the plot becomes predictable. There’s also some heavy foreshadowing that I’m sure is meant to increase tension but had the opposite effect on me. The novel’s strength, though, lies in Lanchester’s condemnation of the current generation, partly the Boomers, but also Gen X, who have allowed the far right to thrive on immigration issues and border control and whose apathy and scepticism toward climate change means that any politician willing to raise the issue is silenced, voted out, seen as part of a global conspiracy. Rather than go all didactic on the reader, Lanchester expresses this through Joseph, and those of his generation, who despise their parents, their selfishness, their unwillingness to act. Joseph particularly hates his parents because while they’re entirely to blame for the state of the planet, they don’t need to guard the wall, they don’t have to experience the freezing weather or watch a close friend murdered by a desperate refugee. It’s powerful stuff that almost, though not entirely, mitigates the linear, join the dots nature of the plot.
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  • Dan Woodall
    January 1, 1970
    Very clever. Every word is thought out and in its place for a reason.The background of the characters is limited but that is kind of the point. In a world so isolated and disposable why would we want/need to know.Prose with a almost poetic feeling. A story about an uncertain future and why a storytelling is important.Beautiful and essential.
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  • Buchdoktor
    January 1, 1970
    Nach einer Klimakatastrophe ist der Meeresspiegel gestiegen und auf der nördlichen Halbkugel hat es einen Kälteeinbruch gegeben. Unter der Kälte leiden besonders die Wachtposten auf der 10 000 km langen Mauer, die England komplett umgibt. Es gibt keine Küstenlinie und keinen Strand mehr, nur die Mauer. „Nationale Künstenverteidigungsbefestigung,“ nennt sich das Projekt. Diktaturen tun sich ja häufig als Sprachverhunzer hervor. Joseph Kavanagh, ein „Hiesiger“, leistet hier mit seiner Kompanie Wac Nach einer Klimakatastrophe ist der Meeresspiegel gestiegen und auf der nördlichen Halbkugel hat es einen Kälteeinbruch gegeben. Unter der Kälte leiden besonders die Wachtposten auf der 10 000 km langen Mauer, die England komplett umgibt. Es gibt keine Küstenlinie und keinen Strand mehr, nur die Mauer. „Nationale Künstenverteidigungsbefestigung,“ nennt sich das Projekt. Diktaturen tun sich ja häufig als Sprachverhunzer hervor. Joseph Kavanagh, ein „Hiesiger“, leistet hier mit seiner Kompanie Wachdienst, um das Land vor „den Anderen“ zu schützen, die angeblich ins Land eindringen werden. Sollte es einem Fremden gelingen, die Mauer zu überwinden, werden die Verantwortlichen in kleinen Rettungsbooten ausgesetzt und müssen sich fortan allein durchschlagen. Eine simple Rechnung Mann gegen Mann. Die Enterer der Mauer dürfen sich dagegen in die Altbevölkerung der Insel integrieren. Den Dienst auf der Mauer kann man sich in der knackigen Kälte wie jeden Wachdienst als ungeheuer öde vorstellen. Die Gedanken der Wächter kreisen zwanghaft um Wärme, Essen und um die Angst davor, im entscheidenden Moment zu versagen. Entkommen können die Wächter nur, wenn sie sich als „Fortpflanzer“ melden und damit für die Reproduktion der Wachmannschaft sorgen. Da die Welt von der vorhergehenden Generation zerstört wurde, wundert die mangelnde Motivation zur Fortpflanzung nicht. Der Icherzähler Joseph, Spitzname Yeti, sieht sich selbst als jemand, dessen Erwachsenenleben nach dem Ende des Wächterdiensts liegen wird. Glaubwürdig, als kritischer Geist und in der Sprache eines reifen Mannes in der Lebensmitte berichtet er aus seinem Leben. Seinen Gedanken bin ich anfangs gern gefolgt, fand es jedoch zunehmend unglaubwürdig, dass Joseph wie frisch aus dem Ei geschlüpft wirkte und sich zugleich wie ein gebildeter mittelalter Mann ausdrückte. Alles, was ihn zu der erzählenden Person gemacht hat, scheint ausradiert zu sein. Den Kontakt zu seinen Eltern, den Mit-Schuldigen an der Klimakatastrophe, hat er abgebrochen. Im letzten von drei Teilen wird Joseph tatsächlich verbannt und muss seine bisher gepflegte Insulaner-Sicht der Dinge abrupt revidieren.Mit dystopischen und postapokalyptischen Szenarien bin ich eigentlich leicht zu erfreuen, wenn sie mir eine Veränderung meiner Sichtweise ermöglichen. Auch die vielfältige Mauer-Symbolik (einschließlich der Mauer im Kopf und der unvermeidlichen Projektion auf anonyme Feinde von außen) finde ich höchst faszinierend. Der erhobene pädagogische Zeigefinger passend zum Brexit ist hier deutlich zu spüren. „Die Mauer“ konnte mich jedoch nicht völlig überzeugen, weil ich die Figur des Icherzählers nicht glaubwürdig charakterisiert finde.
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  • Marcus Hobson
    January 1, 1970
    Boarder Walls are all the rage at the moment, along with the vexed social question of who gets let in and, more important, who does not. With Trump’s Mexican wall hogging the headlines, I was hijacked into thinking that we would be in America and that the wall in question would be an internal barrier. How wrong I was. This book is much more like the UK’s answer to Margaret Atwood and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. A dystopian future, where things are very different to our present, but frighteningly simi Boarder Walls are all the rage at the moment, along with the vexed social question of who gets let in and, more important, who does not. With Trump’s Mexican wall hogging the headlines, I was hijacked into thinking that we would be in America and that the wall in question would be an internal barrier. How wrong I was. This book is much more like the UK’s answer to Margaret Atwood and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. A dystopian future, where things are very different to our present, but frighteningly similar at the same time.The Wall in this book is featureless, reflecting bleak surroundings and often referred to as ‘concretewindwatersky’. It is a concrete monster that runs along the entire sea coast of the UK. An impenetrable defense against ‘Others’, the name given those trying to enter the country. Sitting firmly in the post-Brexit world, we are asked to imagine a time when boarders really are closed.More chillingly, this concrete wall is permanently manned by soldiers. They are like the children of Brexit. It is as if their parents voted for separation and now their children are separated from them to serve a two-year stretch in the army, 12-hour shifts waiting for an invisible enemy. ‘The Others’ could attack at any moment and must be resisted at all costs. People have stopped having children, unwilling to consign them to the two-years of hardship. Should any of the ‘Defenders’ on the wall wish to, they can become ‘Breeders’ and be rewarded with better conditions and more privileges. Their children will still, eventually, guard the Wall.Most of all the Wall itself is unrelentingly cold and dark, guarding it a constant monotony. Watching and waiting for something, anything, to happen. At first, I thought this was all the book was going to be, a slow, confusing world where events are opaque. But very suddenly we are hurled into action sequences and the story rips along. To say any more about the plot would ruin some of the many surprises.Lanchester is a master story teller. From his superb first book ‘The Debt to Pleasure’ with its wonderfully named and unreliable hero, Tarquin Winot, to the wide-ranging portrait of London in his last novel, ‘Capital’, we see his ability to develop a complex plot. In this latest book the technique is a slow reveal. For the first fifty pages we have no geography to tell us where in the world we are. Suddenly, from no-where, ‘At London, we split up.’ Casual as you like. We have unusual phrases; Defenders, Others, and a hardly explained event called ‘The Change’. The point at which everything becomes different.This novel is unexpected, unpredictable and hugely entertaining. The reader is always being surprised but also, if you look back from the end, you will see that very subtly you are being drip fed tiny amounts of information that you need to know in order for the story to make sense. It is a brilliant piece of writing. Perfect for our modern times of political uncertainty.
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  • Pickle Farmer
    January 1, 1970
    Wow - this was really gripping read and very suspenseful. It’s the kind of story where you feel sick with anxiety about what will happen next. A really amazing parable and also a just plain involving, absorbing story.
  • Joyce Dunne
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing, captivating, lyrical and such an enjoyable experience. I almost didn’t want to finish. While reading It felt as though Kavanagh, our leading man was telling me this story himself. Nothing dramatic but thrilling the way you feel when a grandparent tells you a story of their past. I really recommend this book if you enjoy storytelling that is beautiful and not all about drama if that’s not your style you might not like this but for me personally this book was amazing and I already can’t w Amazing, captivating, lyrical and such an enjoyable experience. I almost didn’t want to finish. While reading It felt as though Kavanagh, our leading man was telling me this story himself. Nothing dramatic but thrilling the way you feel when a grandparent tells you a story of their past. I really recommend this book if you enjoy storytelling that is beautiful and not all about drama if that’s not your style you might not like this but for me personally this book was amazing and I already can’t wait to re-read.
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  • Leselissi
    January 1, 1970
    Die Welt nach dem "Wandel". Großbritannien ist von einem unzerstörbaren Befestigungswall umgeben. Die Mauer.Innerhalb der Mauer ist man sicher, das Leben geht weiter.Alle außerhalb der Mauer - die "Anderen" - dürfen nicht hinein, unter keinen Umständen.Zwei Jahre Wachdienst auf der Mauer sind Pflicht. Zwei Jahre "Verteidiger" sein. Das ist die Ausgangssituation in diesem Buch. John Lanchester schafft es unglaublich gut, einem diese Stimmung näher zu bringen. Man spürt die erbarmungslose Kälte, d Die Welt nach dem "Wandel". Großbritannien ist von einem unzerstörbaren Befestigungswall umgeben. Die Mauer.Innerhalb der Mauer ist man sicher, das Leben geht weiter.Alle außerhalb der Mauer - die "Anderen" - dürfen nicht hinein, unter keinen Umständen.Zwei Jahre Wachdienst auf der Mauer sind Pflicht. Zwei Jahre "Verteidiger" sein. Das ist die Ausgangssituation in diesem Buch. John Lanchester schafft es unglaublich gut, einem diese Stimmung näher zu bringen. Man spürt die erbarmungslose Kälte, die tiefe Beklemmung, die ständige Bedrohung und Angst vor den Anderen, die Hoffnung, es bald überstanden zu haben.Eine düstere Dystopie. Post-apokalyptisch, eine zerstörte Welt, in der das Entzünden einer Öllampe der Entdeckung des Feuers gleichkommt.
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  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    EXCELLENT!The story is great. The characters are excellent. The plot [meaning] is fantastic. This is a book about LIFE and the art of living it no matter what our circumstances are. You have to continue to live a life even if it is not the one you envisioned or planed for.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    The Wall by John Lanchester is a grimly dystopian cli-fi novel set in the near future after an unspecified climatic catastrophe has led to a rise in sea levels and the reshaping of the landscape. A form of national service has been introduced with young people (who are fully aware that their parents and grandparents are responsible for the environmental harm that has been wreaked) serve a two year term defending the Wall - a barrier erected around the entire coastline of Great Britain to keep ou The Wall by John Lanchester is a grimly dystopian cli-fi novel set in the near future after an unspecified climatic catastrophe has led to a rise in sea levels and the reshaping of the landscape. A form of national service has been introduced with young people (who are fully aware that their parents and grandparents are responsible for the environmental harm that has been wreaked) serve a two year term defending the Wall - a barrier erected around the entire coastline of Great Britain to keep out marauding asylum seekers.On one level this works as a pretty on the nose commentary of both the British preoccupation with immigration in the time of Brexit and the current Trumpian fixation with wall-building. There’s a lot more to it than that however. The characters have little background information provided and act as ciphers, and Lanchester’s use of the definite article (The Wall, The Defenders, The Others) gives a mythic, almost archetypal feel to the book. There’s a strong sense of purpose to Lanchester’s writing - the prose is deceptively simple but powerful and the book’s third act flips perspectives and sympathies very cleverly. Very well written, and a novel which is going to stay with me for some time.
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  • Tony Milani
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to like this book. The premise is interesting but the story is just a mess. The Captain and the hermit at the end were the only characters that interested me. The Kavanagh/Hifa romance story was dumb and unnecessary.There just isn't enough information about the government running the show or how people are living on either side of the wall. We meet one politician character who winds up suicide bombing a pirate ship after he's put out to sea for not being sufficiently apprised of a consp I wanted to like this book. The premise is interesting but the story is just a mess. The Captain and the hermit at the end were the only characters that interested me. The Kavanagh/Hifa romance story was dumb and unnecessary.There just isn't enough information about the government running the show or how people are living on either side of the wall. We meet one politician character who winds up suicide bombing a pirate ship after he's put out to sea for not being sufficiently apprised of a conspiracy within the Defenders ranks, along with the rest of the main characters.Apparently procreation is rare enough behind the wall that "Breeders" are afforded special status and privileges. Clearly the author is making a statement about the world of the future being so messed up that nobody in their right mind would want kids for fear of what they would have to endure as the world presumably grows more inhospitable. There's so much ground here for a deeper dive into what the Others are doing in Otherlandia. Instead we get multiple pointless descriptions of how totally trashed the Defenders like to get on their spring breaks, bro. And some pointlessly weirdly formatted stuff about concretewindwatersky or something (if 'concretewindwatersky' isn't the right order/word then I don't care because I can't be bothered to open this book again even as I write this review.)God, this book was bad.
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  • Francene Carroll
    January 1, 1970
    'Don't start a book with the weather' is the advice of many writing experts, but The Wall's narrator begins by telling us how cold it is on the wall. It's really cold. Really really really cold.We get it, it's cold, but the thing is, I don't care about the frigid temperature until you've given me a reason to care, and at this point I could care less. It doesn't get much better from there as the writing is flat and colorless, as are the other draftees on the wall who are so rugged up against the 'Don't start a book with the weather' is the advice of many writing experts, but The Wall's narrator begins by telling us how cold it is on the wall. It's really cold. Really really really cold.We get it, it's cold, but the thing is, I don't care about the frigid temperature until you've given me a reason to care, and at this point I could care less. It doesn't get much better from there as the writing is flat and colorless, as are the other draftees on the wall who are so rugged up against the cold the narrator can't even tell what gender they are. Maybe I should have given it more of a chance, but to me this reads like a first draft.
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  • Andreu
    January 1, 1970
    Even if the concept of the book (a walled society due to global warming and its consequences) is interesting, it is not fully developed and only hints are given about how the society functions. I'm fine with that, sometimes. Two thirds of the book are interesting, but I think the end is not well resolved. You end up with the feeling "So what?"
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  • Kathleen Flynn
    January 1, 1970
    I read John Lanchester's Capital a few years ago and enjoyed it very much. This is an utterly different sort of book but also engrossing. It's a war story, a lost-at-sea story, a love story. I was intrigued by how the author creates a dystopian future out of so very few elements, just a few broad strokes.The ending was odd, but it wasn't like I had another one in mind: one perplexity about this book was that I absolutely could not decide where I thought it was going. But in a good way.
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  • Britt
    January 1, 1970
    Een boek kan het voor mij nog maken of breken tot dd laatste zin. Dit boek heeft het vooral dankzij de laatste paar zinnen tot 5 sterren geschopt. Kan me best voorstellen dat dit boek niet voor iedereen is, maar ik kon in ieder geval niet stoppen met lezen
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  • Bettie☯
    January 1, 1970
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000...Description: The Wall is the new novel from John Lanchester, author of Capital and The Debt to Pleasure.Ravaged by the Change, an island nation has built the Wall, a high concrete barrier around its entire coastline. Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are trapped on the rising seas beyond the Wall and are trying to get in. Failure will result in death or a fate perhaps https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000...Description: The Wall is the new novel from John Lanchester, author of Capital and The Debt to Pleasure.Ravaged by the Change, an island nation has built the Wall, a high concrete barrier around its entire coastline. Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are trapped on the rising seas beyond the Wall and are trying to get in. Failure will result in death or a fate perhaps worse: being put to sea and made an Other himself. In Episode One, Kavanagh begins his life patrolling the Wall. If he’s lucky, if nothing goes wrong, he only has two years of this: 729 more nights.John Lanchester is a contributing editor to the London Review of Books and a regular contributor to the New Yorker. He has written four novels, The Debt to Pleasure, Mr Phillips, Fragrant Harbour and Capital, and three works of non-fiction: Family Romance, a memoir; and Whoops!: Why everyone owes everyone and no one can pay, about the global financial crisis and How to Speak Money, a primer in popular economics. His books have won the Hawthornden Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Prize, the E.M Forster Award and the Premi Llibreter, been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and been translated into twenty-five languages.
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  • Sasha Haasnoot
    January 1, 1970
    I know with 100 percent certainly that this book will become a movie or series. It was written so visible, you would almost think that the author has written it that way on purpose. These are those distopia that 10 years ago would not have impacted me as much, but while i was reading this i had that "fuck this can actually happen while I am alive" feeling. I am also curious if there will be a second book. I would not mind it tbh.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes you finish zero books in a month and sometimes you finish two in one day. A great audiobook, narrated by Will Poulter and I think so far my favorite narrator I’ve listened to. Very intriguing story which I am sure will get lots of attention in the near future!
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  • Miko Mayer
    January 1, 1970
    AUDIOBOOK REVIEW - The Wall by John LanchesterSet in the not too distant future, The Wall takes place in a dystopian version of the UK where the populace is conscripted into service on the The National Coastal Defence Structure, colloquially known as ‘The Wall’. It takes current-day issues—climate change, immigration/asylum, nationalism—and presents them to us through a protagonist whose world is just different enough from ours that you can understand how he grew up to accept the defects of his AUDIOBOOK REVIEW - The Wall by John LanchesterSet in the not too distant future, The Wall takes place in a dystopian version of the UK where the populace is conscripted into service on the The National Coastal Defence Structure, colloquially known as ‘The Wall’. It takes current-day issues—climate change, immigration/asylum, nationalism—and presents them to us through a protagonist whose world is just different enough from ours that you can understand how he grew up to accept the defects of his world without question. In this, Lanchester works the magic of speculative fiction, giving us the cautionary tale, allowing us to glimpse a slightly skewed reflection of our world, showing us that this could well be the bottom of the slippery slope we are descending. It’s an entirely readable and enjoyable addition the the dystopian genre, but it lacks the subtlety and complexity that comes with the best of speculative fiction and the characters could have been more fully realised. The protagonist was developed enough to create a sense of empathy, but while the supporting characters were identifiable as individuals, for the most part, I had no sense of what propelled them and that made them seem somewhat lightly sketched. I listened to this as an audiobook and was impressed by Will Poulter’s narration. It’s the first book I’ve heard him read and I wouldn’t hesitate to listen to another.All in all not a bad addition to my audible library and I'd recommend it if you're looking for an entertaining dystopian listen, just best not to go into it expecting ground-breaking new ideas or predictions for our future.

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  • Matthew Hickey
    January 1, 1970
    A dark tale that will make you think deeply about the world as it is right now (and as it is at risk of becoming in the future). It skewers the protectionist political class, while posing questions about who “we” are and what might happen if “the Others” breach The Wall, or if the defenders become those excluded. Lanchester’s capacity to capture the times through literature is remarkable. A fitting follow up to his last novel, Capital.
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