No one hast ever left the Line, nor shalt thou. To do so wouldst dishonour the sacrifices of all those gone before.
No one hast ever left the Line, nor shalt thou. To do so wouldst mean thy family must pay your penance.
Thou mayst leave thy place in the Line but only once – when thou dost marry.
But thou can only move down the Line, never up. For that is how thou will know it is true love.
And because moving up would be skipping.
And that is the most important rule of all.
Thou Shalt Not Skip The Line. Thou Shalt Not Skip The Line
Willard, his mother and his girlfriend Nyla have spent their entire lives in an endless procession, where daily survival is dictated by the ultimate imperative: obey the rules, or lose your place in the Line. Everything changes the day Willard’s mother dies and he finds a book hidden among her few belongings.
What I Thought:
Line is that most confusing of review books – a book that is just waiting to trip the reviewer up and send them into spoiler territory!
There are so many scenes that I would like to tell you about, as Niall Bourke manages to draw such vivid pictures with his writing, but I. CAN’T. TELL. YOU. ABOUT. THEM!
So let’s start then, when we’re in no danger – The Line. The line itself is very familiar to all of us who’ve ever used an airport, but who made the line? Why are people in the line? There are rules that govern the line – who made those rules? Why do people not just leave the line?
The first half of the book asked these and many more questions, mostly as they consume Willard, and also gives us a brilliant idea of the line and the people who live in it. There are some shocking moments as we learn the penalities for breaking the rules, which very much show that we’re all only a short distance from savagery, and all of this feeds Willard’s dissatisfaction.
The second half of this book answers all of these questions, but in some very clever ways that call out a lot of aspects of our modern society that we just don’t think about, but should. Ultimately this book is an indictment of how we live, and how others exploit how we live, showing one completely possible future resulting from that. It is dark – very dark in places, but there is comedy too, some of which is funny because it’s so absurd. What’s important though is that it all flows beautifully, allowing you to be fully absorbed in Willard’s world.
Definitely recommended for fans of speculative fiction and, perhaps, something of alarm bell for the rest of us?
Line is published by Tramp Press.
About the Author:
Niall Bourke is a writer and a teacher. His work has been published widely in magazines and journals in Ireland and the UK, and his poems and stories have been short-listed for numerous awards, including the Costa Short Story Award and the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award. He lives in South London with his partner, his daughter and his cat.
This post is part of the blog tour to celebrate the publication of Line – why not check out some of the participating blogs and Instagrammers taking part, as below?
Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.