Book Review: The Guard

This work by Peter Terrin is a fantastic book that looks into many areas of the human mind at the same time. Written in spare prose that reflects both the setting and the lack of information the guards have about the outside world, the novel is truly a literary and storytelling triumph.
I received a copy from the publisher so that I could write a review of the translation, and was rivited by the work. I haven’t heard about this author before but the concept was interesting. While I expected a dystopian style read, what I found was much more nuanced and stylistic than the usual novels in this genre.
The guard who takes the lead in the narrative is not the leader inside the two-person squad. That choice from the author opened up this story to telling a subtle yet powerful story about confinement, control, voluntary subjugation, and the dynamics of human relationships in personal and organizational terms. The same elements can be read on an extended level that touches on elements we’re experiencing in different developed cultures today.
All these elements unfold in tiny ways that are no less powerful for the gradual movements involved. Some readers have responded to this work with confusion, claiming that they either didn’t understand the work or that later events were not supported throughout. I disagree. This novel reveals itself to readers who pay attention. For those who want more from a dystopian story than the usual justice-is-served or all-are-doomed endings, The Guard is the one to read. The Guard will be available in English starting Jan 6, 2015 in the U.S. and Canada.


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