The Men is a modern dystopia that deals with racism, social injustice, politics, feminism and more. I do think of the book as a feminist utopia, though. After all, all the men on earth disappear in an instant, and women live with all their freedom as the only inhabitants of the planet.
Although The Men is told through the eyes of many different characters, we follow the story with the focus of the main character, Jane Pearson. Jane and the other characters try to learn to live with their grief as they adapt to the new world after the extinction of the men.
Although the first times of The Disappearance were tough for everyone, women are starting to enjoy this fearless life they have just won. Little girls play on the roads as much as they want; no one doubts their lives, no one is afraid of being raped or subjected to violence. North and South Korea are uniting; the world is becoming an increasingly peaceful place. But videos that show men in a strange world, spread by email, are starting to confuse women.
Although The Men is told with different characters, the story connects very well after a point. Everything becomes more meaningful as you learn about the characters’ pasts and secrets. The author’s unpretentious, straightforward and fluent narrative is perfect for such a novel; It just lets you focus on the story.
The Men is a very in-depth book in terms of the topics it covers. The minor comments made by the author in terms of gender will not go unnoticed by readers who have spent a little time and pondered over this issue. It nicely describes the situation we are in right now and how people, from politicians to the media, are using this issue of “appropriate description”. Evangelyne Moreau, with her character, engraves racism and the causes of racism in the readers’ minds. And of course, she makes us think of all the values we have lost as the whole world due to the racism disease.
The ending of The Men sadly disappointed me. I was not expecting this from a book that progressed so well and successfully touched upon dozens of essential issues in such a narrow space. At the very beginning of the book, I hoped that it wouldn’t create a situation like “everything is the main character’s dream” at the end. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but get angry when I faced such an end. However, the author has written such an ending that nothing is clear.
On the one hand, some situations show that what we read is real; on the other hand, some cases show that everything is a dream. Therefore, I ended The Men with surprise and anger and realized that I had forgotten all the essential points it told because of this terrible ending. Another reason I got angry was that at the end of the book, I thought that in a world where men exist, women would never be able to live as they want and stay in their “places”. I don’t know if the author did this on purpose, but I have to say that it impressed me a lot.
The Men wasn’t a bad book at all, despite the ending that pissed me off. I think it would be an excellent choice, especially for book clubs; Every subject mentioned in the book and especially the end gives a lot to discuss. If you are after feminist readings; If you enjoy reading about dystopias and contemporary issues, I suggest you take a look.
Jane Pearson is camping with her husband Leo and their five-year-old son Benjamin, deep in the California woods on an evening in late August. At the moment that she drifts to sleep outside the tent where Leo and Benjamin are preparing for bed, every single person with a Y chromosome vanishes from the world, disappearing from operating theatres mid-surgery, from behind the wheels of cars, from arguments and acts of love. Children, adults, even fetuses are gone in an instant. Leo and Benjamin are gone. No one knows why, how, or where.
After the Disappearance, Jane enters a reality she barely recognises, where women must create new ways of living while coping with devastating grief. As people come together to rebuild depopulated industries and distribute scarce resources, Jane reunites with an old college girlfriend, Evangelyne Moreau, leader of the Commensalist Party of America, a rising political force in this new world. Meanwhile, strange video footage called ‘The Men’ is being broadcast online showing images of the vanished men marching through barren, otherworldly landscapes. Is this just a hoax, or could it hold the key to the Disappearance?
From the author of The Heavens, The Men is a gripping, beautiful and disquieting novel of feminist utopias and impossible sacrifices that interrogates the dream of a perfect society.
Sandra Newman (born November 6, 1965 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American writer. She has a BA from Polytechnic of Central London, and an MA from the University of East Anglia.
Newman’s first novel, The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done, was first published in 2002 and received a nomination for the 2002 Guardian First Book Award. The novel features an American adoptee from Guatemala named Chrysalis Moffat and focuses on events in her and her family’s lives using an unusual style reminiscent of notes taken while composing the novel.
Newman’s third novel, The Country of Ice Cream Star (2014), was among eighty titles nominated for 2015 Folio Prize, and among twenty works nominated for the 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. The novel follows the protagonist, Ice Cream Fifteen Star, through a dystopian future United States while she searches for a cure for her brother’s inherited disease.
Her fourth novel, The Heavens (2019), published by Grove Atlantic, tells the story of a woman who lives in the early twenty-first century, but who returns every night in dreams to Elizabethan England, where she lives as Emilia Lanier, a Jewish poet whose circle of acquaintances includes an obscure poet named William Shakespeare. The New York Times Book Review called it “a strange and beautiful hybrid.”
She is the author of one additional novel, Cake (2008); a memoir, Changeling (2010); and a guide to Western literature, The Western Lit Survival Kit: How To Read The Classics Without Fear (2012). She is the co-author of How Not To Write A Novel (2008) and Read This Next (2010).
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: