Juli Zeh - The Method (4 stars)

A riveting intellectual and emotional thriller set in a dystopian future

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Juli Zeh - The Method

(Harvill Secker)

German author Juli Zeh’s translated 2009 novel is an Orwellian vision of the near future in which civilisation adheres to the stark principles of The Method. Priority is given to physical health over mental freedom of the mind with sexual partners being selected on the basis of compatible immunology, while exercise and cleanliness are state regulated and DNA evidence is irrefutable proof of a crime. Biologist Mia Holl has always carefully followed The Method, but when her brother commits suicide after being found guilty of murder and rape, she starts to question her rational outlook on life.

Tightly plotted, philosophically enquiring and disturbingly plausible, The Method convincingly corresponds with current social and political trends. Elevating it further are Zeh’s bold stylistic flourishes, not least the capricious manner in which the narrator hovers above the narrative. Holl’s nightmare escalates with compelling speed and the confrontations she has with her chief persecutor, journalist and witchfinder general Heinrich Kramer, are riveting intellectual and emotional duels.

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