Imagine a future where the climate has destroyed industry, flooded nations, and driven immigration to the places that are still fertile to the point that those countries have become dystopia.
Not hard, is it?
This is the world that Bridge 108 is set in. The story revolves around Caleb, a 12-year-old boy that is forced into what is really slave labor in all but name. While he is the primary character in the story, six different character provide first-person narration in this novel.
The variety of voices and viewpoints in the story is only one the things that makes Bridge 108 a different book. It's a coming-of-age story. It's a family story. It's a science fiction tale about a (very) possible future.
It's also the kind of story that's guaranteed to be polarizing. I don't want to say much more for risk of spoiling how the book unfolds and how it ends. You need to read it.
Anne Charnock's dialogue and narration are flawless. She skillfully switches between characters and scenes. She skillfully sets the scenes with sparse but still evocative description. Some of it made we want to fly to England and look for the villages and canals she describes.
Bridge 108 isn't for everyone and that's one of the book's strength. Art that reflects the vision of the artist, and not a publisher or committee evokes a strong reaction from some viewers.
It's also the best art there is.