Simon Lelic‘s latest thriller presents readers with a near future Britain in which the government has gained too much power in the name of national security.
(I reviewed Lelic’s first book, A Thousand Cuts, back in 2010. Quite a powerful novel about bullying.)
Read an extract from The Facility here.
LELIC, Simon. The Facility. 341p. Penguin. 2012. Tr $15. ISBN 978-0-14-312068-1. LC 2012023398.
Adult/High School–In a time close to current day, Britain has passed the Unified Security Act, allowing the government to arrest people for undisclosed reasons and hold them for an indeterminate period. Authorities are not obligated to notify anyone, respond to inquiries, or give prisoners access to legal help. Unsurprisingly, the government claims this law is essential to the protection of Britain’s citizens and, equally unsurprisingly, it is horribly abused. Arthur Priestly is arrested and sent to the facility for reasons he doesn’t fully understand. His wife, Julia, learns of his arrest but the Unified Security Act insures that her attempts to get any further information through the legal or political system are blocked. As a last resort, she approaches Tom Clarke, a journalist who is not particularly ambitious, for help. He’s written articles in opposition to the Act so she hopes he’ll have connections who can help her. At first reluctant, then curious, then committed, Tom puts together enough pieces to get close to uncovering the truth–so close that his and Julia’s lives are now in danger. Alongside the story of Julia and Tom’s efforts, readers encounter the situation at the facility and its corrupting effect on both the prisoners and their captors. The Facility is not overly graphic, but its unsettling content will be best appreciated by mature high school students. It provides good food for thought as teens consider questions of freedom versus safety, and how to balance the two.–Carla Riemer, Claremont Middle School, CA