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A Woman’s War against Progress

Allan Cameron
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Vagabond Voices
Published: October 2, 2023
ISBN: 9781913212353
394 pages
Country of publication: United Kingdom


In 1916 a young woman, Rahvaema, leaves the forest community where she grew up, and sets off for a century-long adventure whose struggles and sufferings she could never have imagined. She becomes a campaigner for her Surelik language and culture, and in doing this she expands her horizons and is paradoxically drawn away from the language she loves and wants to defend. The novel confronts the personal costs of political activism and questions our ability to mould our future rationally and morally, whilst also suggesting that we have no choice but to attempt just that. A fortuitous coincidence of events allows her to establish an autonomous republic for her people, the Surelikud, but power brings no only opportunities but also compromises and betrayals. She lives too long and thus she lives to see her achievements crumble. The novel has has many themes, but the way progress is used or abused in order to worsen the living conditions of humanity is the primary one. Rahvaema is the first-person narrator but her ideas about progress are not necessarily the author’s, but would be understandable in someone coming from her background.

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