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Review: NOMANSLAND by Lesley Hauge

Posted by on September 21, 2010

Nomansland 
NOMANSLAND
Lesley Hauge
256 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: June 22nd, 2010
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: LOVED

Sometime in the future, a lonely, windswept island is populated solely by women. Among these women is a group of teenaged Trackers—expert equestrians and archers—whose job is to protect their shores from the enemy. The enemy, they’ve been told, is men. When these girls come upon a partially buried home from the distant past, they are fascinated by the strange objects—high-heeled shoes, teen magazines, make-up—found there. What are they to make of these mysterious things? And what does it mean for their strict society where friendship is forbidden and rules must be obeyed—at all costs?

I just finished reading Nomansland, by Lesley Hauge. It was incredible. It was unlike anything I’ve read before. No Vampires, Fairies, Magic — Nomansland is unique. The story takes place in the future, on a wind-swept island called Foundland, where there are no men. In fact, the women in Foundland are taught that men are the enemy. Women run the island, grow the crops, tend the animals, and defend the island from an enemy that never shows up.

As I read this book, I kept waiting for action, maybe an attack, but about 3/4 of the way through, I realized that Nomansland was not meant to have action. It was meant for us to think, to contemplate, to ponder over what we call normal and common in our lives.

The main character, Keller, follows all the rules, whatever they may be. She accepts her way of life, even if she’s not satisfied in it. When a group of girls, including Keller, finds an underground cavern filled with “smooth glossy, bound books” (magazines), colored paints (make-up), and “shoes that were probably used as weapons” (high-heels) – all things forbidden to them. Keller wonders what made the Old People from the Time Before so… bad. And why do the women and girls of Foundland have to live this way, forbidden from many things that will make them happy? Why live such a dull and colorless life is isolation?

Overall, I really liked this book. It wasn’t full of action or suspense, but I felt the need to turn the page to find out what happens to Keller, if her questions will be answered, and by whom. I enjoyed the ending as well, which gives new hope to the island of Nomansland, but most of all, to Keller.

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