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This Perfect Day: 09/03/13

cover art

This Perfect Day by Ira Levin is a near future dystopian in the same vein as Nineteen Eighty-Four or Brave New World. It follows Li (aka Chip) from childhood through middle age as he questions, accepts, rejects and tries to escape from Uni — the all encompassing society built on the ashes of our current nations.

The how and why of Uni's creation is never fully described but hints are dropped, much in the same way that B&L's domination and destruction of Earth in Wall-E is. Chip's situation unique in that he is related to someone who both knows how things came to be and was apparently an active participant (for better or worse).

Much of This Perfect Day, though, is a quiet observation of the ways in which Chip and the others are so blindly complacent. Levin's rather bland narrative tone serves to underscore the oppression imposed by Uni by not commenting on it. Instead everything is presented as routine and even somewhat mundane.

It's not until about two-thirds through the novel that Chip comes to realize something is not right with how things work. It is also in these last few pages that Levin begins to weave in most of Uni's back story.

It is easy, though, to just take the events as described at face value. Therein, is the second layer of warning about just how easy it is to deceive and to be deceived. Though this is a quiet book, pay attention and question everything you read.

Four stars

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