Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

72%

9 Critic Reviews

Her prose beats behind your eyelids, the flow of images widening to a glittering delta whenever Anais approaches the vexed issue of her origins...
-NY Times

Synopsis

Named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists

Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember what’s happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais is covered in blood. Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counterculture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade of horrors visited upon her early life, she greets the world with the witty, fierce insight of a survivor.
 
Anais finds a sense of belonging among the residents of the Panopticon—they form intense bonds, and she soon becomes part of an ad-hoc family. Together, they struggle against the adults that keep them confined. But when she looks up at the watchtower that looms over the residents, Anais realizes her fate: She is an anonymous part of an experiment, and she always was. Now it seems that the experiment is closing in.

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content

 

About Jenni Fagan

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JENNI FAGAN was born in Livingston, Scotland. She graduated from Greenwich University and won a scholarship to the Royal Holloway MFA. A published poet, she has won awards from Arts Council England, Dewar Arts and Scottish Screen among others. She has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize, and was named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in 2013. The Panopticon is her first novel.
 
Published July 23, 2013 by Hogarth. 322 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Children's Books, Young Adult. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Panopticon
All: 9 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Tom Shone on Jul 18 2013

Her prose beats behind your eyelids, the flow of images widening to a glittering delta whenever Anais approaches the vexed issue of her origins...

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Jul 15 2013

By its not-that-surprising conclusion, “The Panopticon” has evolved from a self-conscious debut experiment into a deeply felt and genuinely affecting novel.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Lucy Ellmann on Apr 26 2013

Irritatingly, Anais also likes to say "Mental note" and "Fact" – like a misbegotten Bridget Jones.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Lucy Ellmann on May 18 2012

...like many a prison memoir, it's all couched in a solipsistic present-tense first-person monologue. Dotted with intermittent touches of Lothian-speak, the voice sometimes falters...

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Jul 19 2013

It's not a pretty view but Fagan makes this ugly life somehow beautiful.

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Kirkus

Good
on May 05 2013

Dark and disturbing but also exciting and moving thanks to a memorable heroine and vividly atmospheric prose.

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Toronto Star

Below average
Reviewed by Nathan Whitlock on Sep 11 2013

It’s hard to fault the author for wanting to provide her protagonist with a happy ending, given the hell she puts her through, but the novel’s final lapse into wish fulfillment feels like a cop-out. Novelists don’t always have to kill their darlings, but sometimes it’s necessary to lock them away forever.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Jc Sutcliffe on Aug 02 2013

Beyond this, there are some decisions of style and content that initially seem ill-advised...and the choice of first-person, present-tense for the narrative sets off alarm bells, but it’s to Fagan’s credit that ultimately we can not only live with these decisions but feel they were the right ones.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Jc Sutcliffe on Aug 02 2013

Life’s injustices may knock her down, but Anais, with her strong moral code and mix of fragility and resilience, is hard to beat. The Panopticon is like its protagonist: tough as old boots and always ready with the fists, but likely to steal your heart if you’ll just slow down and listen.

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Reader Rating for Panopticon
67%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 183 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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Malinda Charter

Malinda Charter 22 Jul 2014

Added the book to custom list '2013 NPR'

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