Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed
A Novel

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This is a haunting work in the spirit of The Handmaid’s Tale—but Melamed more than holds her own. Hopefully her debut is a harbinger of more to come.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

NEVER LET ME GO meets THE GIVER in this haunting debut about a cult on an isolated island, where nothing is as it seems.

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Years ago, just before the country was incinerated to wasteland, ten men and their families colonized an island off the coast. They built a radical society of ancestor worship, controlled breeding, and the strict rationing of knowledge and history. Only the Wanderers--chosen male descendants of the original ten--are allowed to cross to the wastelands, where they scavenge for detritus among the still-smoldering fires.

The daughters of these men are wives-in-training. At the first sign of puberty, they face their Summer of Fruition, a ritualistic season that drags them from adolescence to matrimony. They have children, who have children, and when they are no longer useful, they take their final draught and die. But in the summer, the younger children reign supreme. With the adults indoors and the pubescent in Fruition, the children live wildly--they fight over food and shelter, free of their fathers' hands and their mothers' despair. And it is at the end of one summer that little Caitlin Jacob sees something so horrifying, so contradictory to the laws of the island, that she must share it with the others.

Born leader Janey Solomon steps up to seek the truth. At seventeen years old, Janey is so unwilling to become a woman, she is slowly starving herself to death. Trying urgently now to unravel the mysteries of the island and what lies beyond, before her own demise, she attempts to lead an uprising of the girls that may be their undoing.

GATHER THE DAUGHTERS is a smoldering debut; dark and energetic, compulsively readable, Melamed's novel announces her as an unforgettable new voice in fiction.
 

About Jennie Melamed

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Jennie Melamed is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who specializes in working with traumatized children. During her doctoral work at the University of Washington, she investigated anthropological, biological, and cultural aspects of child sexual abuse. Jennie lives in Seattle with her husband and their two dogs.
 
Published July 25, 2017 by Little, Brown and Company. 353 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Gather the Daughters
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 02 2017

This is a haunting work in the spirit of The Handmaid’s Tale—but Melamed more than holds her own. Hopefully her debut is a harbinger of more to come.

Read Full Review of Gather the Daughters: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Claire Jarvis on Oct 13 2017

“Gather the Daughters” highlights an increasingly obvious problem with the project of feminist dystopian fiction: How does the genre understand its aesthetic aims when the presentation of suffering — extreme and inhumane — is a necessary part of its political aims?

Read Full Review of Gather the Daughters: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Sarah Moss on Aug 12 2017

This is not an unusual novel, but it is a strong example of its kind. And an account of what happens to the rising generation when islanders decide to cut themselves off from the neighbouring mainland...

Read Full Review of Gather the Daughters: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

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