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The First Century After Beatrice [Paperback]

Amin Maalouf
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 15.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Sept. 22 1994
MAALOUF/FIRST CENTURY AFTER BEATRIC

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

One wouldn't normally choose an erudite, publicity-shy Parisian entomologist to narrate a story about gender and population politics set in the first decades of the 21st century. But that's what the Lebanese-born Maalouf does in this elegant novel, in which a popular drug that ensures women will give birth only to boys has sharply reduced the world's female population and cut fertility rates. The industrialized nations, seeking to curb Third World population growth, have encouraged the drug's use in poorer countries, which collapse economically. Men everywhere, frustrated sexually and deprived of normal family life, turn to violence and delinquency. An American televangelist launches a massive airlift of impoverished newborn girls from Brazil, Egypt and the Philippines, transporting them to Europe and the U.S., where ethnic protest riots subsequently erupt. Because of his love for crusading journalist Clarence Nesmiglou, his live-in female companion, the nameless narrator campaigns against the drug. But when their daughter, Beatrice, becomes pregnant at age 25, she wants a boy. Maalouf, who has lived in France since 1976, expertly constructs a dire allegory that is as much about the amorality of science as it is about sexism. His choice of narrator is perfect, for his writing is most eloquent in those passages in which the aging entomologist, accustomed to the study of insect species, expresses his hopes for his own.

Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

If someone is going to tell a story about the end of the world, we can glean some comfort from the fact that it is told in a voice as refined and delightful as Amin Maalouf's - Independent on Sunday

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I have started reading Maalouf's books with Semekand and have always been impressed with the well-researched, perfectly-written historically based books of him. This time he compeletely changes his style and still handles of the best books I have ever read in my whole life... Not only the political estimations but also the characters are deeply thought. The way he criticised the enthusiasm of todays world on gene cloning is really impressive. If you want to think about the North-South relationships on the globe next century, this book will give you a certain perspective for sure. You should also read the gender relationships throughout the world from such a creative point of view... Definetely worth reading. I recommended this book to everybody I know.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Stop telling me! Feb. 8 2004
By Jess D.
Format:Hardcover
One of the basic pieces of advice given to any aspiring writer of fiction is to show, rather than tell, the reader what is happening in the story. Maalouf's novel - in spite of his skill at characterisation, analogy, and turn of phrase - falls rather flat because at every stage we are only told of the unfolding tragedy, as in a history book, rather than shown its effects on people. Speculative fiction of this kind works best when we see how individuals are affected by the global tragedy, rather than hearing about it through characters who are geographically removed from the worst of its impact.
The narrator criticises the people "back then" at the start of the twenty-first century, as the tragedy began to make the news, for their indifference and removal from the subject, but sadly that is the reaction he provoked his this reader with his detatched, news soudbite-esque telling of the tale. ("And then, there was rioting in [insert name of fictional African country here].")
The very best passages in this novel are when the narrator speaks of his companion, Clarence, and his daughter, the eponymous Beatrice, and here the prose is shining with tenderness and love. Towards the end, events begin to threaten his loved ones directly, and the peril begins to feel real, but the danger never truly materialises.
In the end, this comes off more as an intellectual exercise in what-if than a living, breathing fiction.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book. Feb. 19 2001
By Maria Ioannou - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The First century after Beatrice was a perfect read. Short, making you want it more than anything too go on! Amin Maalouf writes melodies of words, sentances that are beautiful... His characters are clear and imaginable, but maintain a shadowy edge, as if a slight magic mist is with them at all times. The story is good. Believable. I don't want to use the term science fiction for fear of bringing robots into your head, it's not that at all. It is the best sort of science fiction. Brilliantly written, believable unreality. You are guaranteed to enjoy. Love Mari a xx
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A jewel of the French Science Fiction litterature Jan. 28 2000
By Pascale Lherminier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This scenario can happen any time now, and it's scary ! I'm sure it would make a wonderful movie. But the book only is worth reading: concise, moving, wonderfully written. A little book that you can read in once, remaining shaken for the rest of your life. A shame that it's out of print right now. Read it in French if you can! it's short and well written.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent yet very different from his other books. I Aug. 15 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book, like all of Amin Maalouf's other books, is completely engulfing. The reader not only will not be able to put it down but at the same time is being educated on the subject. Unlike all of his other novels which are historical fictions (based on true facts) this one is about the future based on current facts regarding pre-selection of sexes and genes. Whenever I have read a book by Amin Maalouf I have learned about history or in this case about entomology and gene selection. This author's novels are very well researched and I strongly recommend them to anyone willing to put up with a few all-nighters with reading his books
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Thought-Provoking and Entertaining Novel Sept. 26 2000
By Hamada Kaido - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I just finished reading this book (it took me two days) and I have to say that it was quite a joy and a change from Maalouf's other books. The writing style is, as usual, first rate and the difference lies in it being more creative and philosophical. While reading it one cannot help but wonder about the state of our world and the very likely scenarios set out here. This is even more important today with the seemingly limitless possibilities expected from genetic manipulation now that the human genome has been cracked. A very enlightening book that is a joy to read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gene cloning, gender relations, love of a father and husband April 13 2000
By "ayshemm" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have started reading Maalouf's books with Semekand and have always been impressed with the well-researched, perfectly-written historically based books of him. This time he compeletely changes his style and still handles of the best books I have ever read in my whole life... Not only the political estimations but also the characters are deeply thought. The way he criticised the enthusiasm of todays world on gene cloning is really impressive. If you want to think about the North-South relationships on the globe next century, this book will give you a certain perspective for sure. You should also read the gender relationships throughout the world from such a creative point of view... Definetely worth reading. I recommended this book to everybody I know.
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