Condition: The Final Correction by Alec Birri
I was nervous to start reading this, one because it’s the third book in a trilogy and I haven’t read the first two – and secondly because I read the introduction and was already a bit scared…
However, good writing is good writing whatever the subject matter and despite this dystopian tale which is disturbing and complex, it’s completely unputdownable because of the quality of Birri’s prose. I do feel that reading the first two stories would have been an advantage in the back story and character development, and I plan to go back and read them once The Final Correction is less sharp in my mind.
I am always drawn to military writers and themes as I have a strong connection to the military – Birri served in the British Army for 30 years and his writing has a cathartic element that seeps through the story. The book raised a number of moral and ethical questions that were deeply provoking and sparked some challenging conversations with myself and in groups as I felt compelled to discuss the story and ‘what ifs’ with others. For this reason alone it would make a brilliant book club choice. I can’t use the word ‘enjoy’ as the book (for me) was too dark for that, but I’m very glad I’ve read it and was unable to think of much else while navigating the relationship between the main characters – both of whom are flawed and cracked and brilliantly portrayed, although opposites in every way. The story is convoluted and unpredictable which makes it all the more attractive and unusual. In a world of repeats and covers, it was refreshing to read something new and unexpected.
I’m looking forward to reading all of the reviews in the blog tour, as I suspect there will be a range of reactions, I’m also pleased to be able to discuss the story with people that have read it – it’s the kind of book that raises lots of questions you need to talk to people about. I try to mix up my reading so that something challenging is followed by something ‘lighter’ – I may go for a childrens book review next!
You can learn more about the trilogy and new works on Birri’s website www.alecbirri.com. There is also an interview with him here on the website.
Thank you to Bookollective who provided me with a copy of this book to review.