The Red Hairband
by Catherine Greene
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Pub Date 01 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 01 Oct 2023
Guernica Editions, Guernica World Editions
Evie knows she must put the good of the community before all else—that is the only way to fix the problems that led to the Great Flood. But when she is sent as a spy to a society less restrictive than her own, she must choose between loyalty to all she knows, and freedom in the world outside. Many years later, Evie’s name has become a symbol of revolution. But Bertram uncovers a secret that changes everything he thought he knew. He must decide whether to reveal the truth, or protect the fragile peace of his society. In his journey, he encounters time-travelling historians intent on preventing apocalypse by communicating with Laura, a woman from before the Great Flood. Laura is convinced her newborn baby speaks to her, and must decide whether to trust herself, or the doctors telling her she is crazy. Through these three intertwined stories, The Red Hairband explores the inhumanity that is brought about when we are too certain of our beliefs.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 5 members
Catherine Greene does a good job in creating a good scifi genre. The characters were what I was expecting and enjoyed how good everything was. The plot was well done in a post-apocalyptic setting works and it left me wanting more.
Catherine Greene's "The Red Hairband" is a captivating and thought-provoking exploration of post-apocalyptic reality, masterfully merging literary science fiction and socio-political commentary. The book, significantly longer than the stated 100 pages, turned out to be an engaging read that I couldn't put down, finishing in less than a day. It was well worth the unexpected length.
Set in a future beleaguered by climate change, the novel unfolds a unique narrative through the intertwined stories of Evie, Laura, and Bertram. Each character forces us to grapple with the compelling question: how much does our upbringing shape our worldview?
Evie, a product of a totalitarian state, is not immediately likable. Still, her zealotry provokes a mixture of intrigue and disquiet. This zealous fervor, deeply ingrained in her from childhood, adds depth to her character. Her drive to dismantle a more liberal society, albeit unsuccessful, sets in motion a chain of events that birth a revolution. The concept of The Religious is an interesting exploration of unity among diverse faiths. However, I would have appreciated a more inclusive representation of non-Christian religions in this union.
Laura's narrative at first seems detached from the central storyline, making it less engaging initially. But patience pays off. As the plot progresses, her story - a mother navigating her journey with a time-traveling son against a backdrop of disbelief and mental health stigmatization - is skillfully woven into the larger narrative, contributing to its complex tapestry.
Bertram, the orphaned truth-seeker, brings a different dimension to the narrative. His search for his origins leads him to the heart of the myth surrounding Evie, resulting in a choice that heightens the drama and lends a poignant undertone to his story.
"The Red Hairband" is a fascinating study of the dangers of blind faith and the lengths people might go to uphold their convictions. It subtly advocates for the necessity of questioning and doubting our beliefs, adding a philosophical dimension to the narrative. Greene navigates these deep waters with a deft hand, making the novel a worthwhile read.
This is a 4.5 out of 5-star read - a highly recommended addition to post-apocalyptic and literary science fiction enthusiasts' libraries. Thanks to NetGalley, Catherine Greene, and Guernica Editions for the free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.