The Windup Girl
1 journaler for this copy...
The novel has a structure of multiple POVs for at least four different perspectives: the foreigner farang, Anderson Lake, the calorie man from the western countries and the genetic agriculture companies; Emiko, the abandoned subservient windup girl; Hock Seng, Lake's chinese factory employee, once the owner of a Chinese trade company before becoming a destitute refugee in a country that gives him few rights; and the white shirts faction, a violent military unit of country loyalists. Each point of view allows us to see different perspectives on the happenings within the city, plans and counter plans and all the motivations behind the characters, which are often greedy and thoughtless and political minded, which is probably why I didn't really like a lot of the POV characters. Don't get me wrong, they're very well drawn, they're real and human, each with their specific traits and flaws and weakness, and maybe because of that I found it hard to like them as people enough to be invested in their fate. And that's kind of a nice thing because I sort of enjoyed not having a stake in the situation. Since I didn't necessarily like any of the factions, I would be happy with whatever fate ended up befalling any of them. I don't know, it's kind of strange.
The world is a violent one. People are killed, degraded, violated and humiliated depending on who they are or where they came from. The world is bleak and cruel. The title character, Emiko, suffers the most for being a genetically created, test-tube grown person, a soulless person according to the Thai population. She is also one of the few characters you can actually feel any sympathy towards. She's the only one you actually cheer for when she finally throws off the shackles of her servitude (though there's a very open ended finish to the novel that leaves her future somewhat uncertain).
The setting, the speculative fiction aspect of it in terms of the environmental, political, technological and genetic impacts of the events that happened in the past, are happening and may well happen in the future, are more interesting than the characters used in this commentary on future possibility. In the end, this was a novel I really enjoyed reading without getting extremely involved with the characters, and thus enjoying the twists as they happened with a sort of sense of perverse glee.