Genesis by Bernard Beckett – Book Review

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

I picked up this book because it was making the rounds with some of my blogging friends, but they were all very mysterious about it! And with good reason, really. It is such a short book with so much packed into it, that I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to write a plot description without giving everything away, so I’m going to let you read the publisher’s description of this one, although only the first half of it, because I think the second half gives away too much:

Set on a remote island in a post-apocalyptic, plague-ridden world, this electrifying novel is destined to become a modern classic.

Anax thinks she knows her history. She’d better. She’s now facing three Examiners, and her grueling all-day Examination has just begun. If she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society.

But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And that the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be.

I’ve got to say, at the beginning of Genesis I had no idea whatsoever what was going on. Zero, zip, nada. In a good way, though. I felt that Beckett plopped me down in the middle of a very real situation and led me through the discovery of what exactly was happening in this world. I loved that journey of discovery through Anax’s examination. What lost me a bit was the ending.  This is a mild spoiler, but there is a bit of a twist ending and, honestly, I figured out what most of it was going to be a little more than half way through the book, which left me feeling sort of disappointed at the end.

I think this is a very good and interesting book overall that raises some really interesting questions. It would be a really great book club book, because there are so many questions raised by this book. Recommended.

Buy this book from:

A local independent bookstore via Indiebound

This review was done with a book received from the library.
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15 comments to Genesis by Bernard Beckett – Book Review

  • Amy

    This book has been high on my wish list since I saw the first review some time ago. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed it.

  • You know, the more you all are all secretive about this book, the crazier the rest of us become! Of course we have to read it now. But I like anything apocolyptic, so no arm-twisting here.

  • Everyone seems to love this book! I need to get my hands on it!

  • This does sound like one that could generate some discussion. But I don’t think I can talk my bookclub into it–definitely out of their comfort zone.

  • I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I got an idea of what was going to happen at the end just before it happened but it was more a feeling than as a result of any real clues in that direction. It was a great read.

  • I think you are correct that it would make a great book club book. I didn’t figure it out (perhaps you are smarter than me) but I can see how you would be able to.

  • You’re certainly being mysterious about it as well! But it’s worked for me, because I put it on my wishlist right away.

  • This is not typically the type of book I read, but by your review, I’m intrigued and think I might actually like this book. It’s going on my list right now!

  • I’d kind of figured out the twist partway through. I think part of the problem was that although folks hadn’t spoiled the actual ending, I knew going in that there was a big twist coming.

    Sometimes I think that in addition to not spoiling the end, it might be better to not even know there’s a twist because I start looking for it.

    What I loved about the book was that it took me back to all the most interesting discussions from my college philosophy classes, and for that reason I’ll likely re-read it someday.

    • I agree, it is always hard to review books like this because of that. If you don’t like the twist, it is hard to leave that out but, as you say, even knowing there is a twist can be a spoiler.

  • I loved this book because I am a dope! Not really. What I mean is that I didn’t figure out the end, so it was surprising to me. But when I read the book, I didn’t know there was a surprise ending, so I wasn’t looking for anything like that.

  • I’ve got this one to read as well after all the raving about it around the blogosphere. I’m mystified by how short it is and wonder how can you successfully world-build/tell a story in so few pages?

  • I had NO idea what the ending was going to be – I was so taken off guard.

  • I enjoyed this as well…it’s definitely a book that you don’t want to know anything about before reading. I wasn’t surprised at the ending, but it was just so perfectly done.