Beckett, Bernard. Genesis. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. ISBN 978-0547225494 150 pp. $20
Set in 2075, this novel follows the four-hour entrance examination of a prospective student to the prestigious Academy. Anax has chosen to be tested on her knowledge of a historical figure who was imprisoned for defying the rules of the isolated Republic where he was born by allowing a stranger with potentially harmful germs to come ashore on the island.
Reading almost like a play, the narrative is take up with the examiner’s questions and Anax’s responses, interspersed with her short breaks each hour. The book is an exercise in rhetoric, philosophical and introspective in tone.
The plot is unique and the writing is very good, but the story itself a bit dry and slow. The author withholds key information from the reader that is revealed in a surprise twist ending, frustrating for readers who prefer to figure things out on their own.