The Control Problem
by Norah Woodsey
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Pub Date 20 Dec 2022 | Archive Date 15 Mar 2023
Vera Elpis is a quiet, 30-something single woman with a desk job, two friends, and a cozy apartment. On the surface, her life is beautiful. Children adore her, her inheritance sustains her, and she is safe. The main obstacles to her happiness are her unexplained infertility, and the anger she feels at the callous chaos of the world around her.
One day, when she is pregnant with her baby, those things won’t matter. Everything will be perfect.
In the lonely monotony of modern life, Vera fails to appreciate her own peculiarity. What happened before she moved to this apartment? How does she always know the weather forecast? And why doesn’t her cousin Jennifer, an executive at a secretive tech firm, trust her?
THE CONTROL PROBLEM tells of a woman who learns she is less than she thought and more than she realized. Who will she be when her goal is lost? What path will she take?
A sleek, absorbing tale of motherhood, feminism, and the potential dangers of technology... [with] a gleefully dizzying final act that, while providing closure, is open to interpretation. -Kirkus Reviews
|DURATION||12 Hours, 40 Minutes|
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 7 members
ARC audiobook provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“The Control Problem” is a sci-fi/fantasy story told from the journal entries of Vera Elpis, a quiet 31-year-old woman whose main goal in life is to be a mother. Vera leads a simple life. She has a desk job that she excels at, although she tries not to draw any attention to herself. Children adore her, her inheritance sustains her, and she is safe. Vera has two friends, one who whom is her cousin, Jennifer, an executive at a secretive tech firm. Jennifer has been a big help to Vera since she was in an accident that took the life of her parents and left her with virtually no memories.
Although Vera’s life is quiet and safe, it is also monotonous and lonely. However, she is convinced all that will change once she has her baby. Vera just has to overcome the infertility issues that plague her and go unexplained. But things take a drastic turn once Vera seeks out a new doctor, turning her world on its head. Why is she so peculiar? What happened before she moved to her apartment? How does she always know the weather forecast? And why doesn’t Jennifer seem to trust her?
I absolutely loved this book. It is a slow burn sci-fi/fantasy novel that explores the various sides of Vera, guiding her from being controlled to taking back control. Without giving too much away, the Vera of before is relatable on so many levels: unsure, insecure, docile, and agreeable. Vera aims to please those around her. As Vera learns more about herself and the world around her, things change, and Vera changes right along with them.
The author did an amazing job with this book. The characters were relatable and engaging. I felt myself invested in Vera’s story and caring about what would happen to her. The story arc was well executed. The plot itself was interesting and an original take on some sci-fi themes. The author’s writing style was enthralling, and it pulled me right in and never let me go. As I approached the end of the book, I was excited to learn how it would end while wanting it to not end at all. I was just enjoying it too much.
My copy of this book was an audiobook, so I must comment on the narrator, who was, in fact, the author. I’m often hesitant to listen to fictional audiobooks narrated by authors as they don’t always successfully pull off varying character voices. That being said, this author did an excellent job. Her narrative pace and tone were well done. Her character voices were well-executed and distinctive. I would definitely recommend the audiobook version of this book.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed this book. It was an interesting sci-fi/fantasy story that explored the struggles of one woman and her fight for control. I would highly recommend this book for adult and older young adult readers, as well as for fans of sci-fi/fantasy and fiction novels. Pick up a copy and enjoy!
Is this a warning about a potential future? Or does it give us hope? Science making progress and all the ways these things can hurt us. Or help us.
I loved Vera. She deserves all the best things even if she is a little misguided. I found the setting to be jarring. We are so close to all of that. What a nightmare. Or a daydream. Some of it might not be terrible. Arg!
I want Vera on my team.
And the narrator nailed it!
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