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By Sandra Newman
Julia by Sandra Newman digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

A PEOPLE Magazine Must-Read Book for Fall 2023 | An Esquire Best Book of Fall 2023 | A Guardian Biggest New Book of 2023 | LitHub Most Anticipated Book of 2023

An imaginative, feminist, and brilliantly relevant-to-today retelling of Orwell’s 1984, from the point of view of Winston Smith’s lover, Julia, by critically acclaimed novelist Sandra Newman.

Julia Worthing is a mechanic, working in the Fiction Department at the Ministry of Truth. It’s 1984, and Britain (now called Airstrip One) has long been absorbed into the larger trans-Atlantic nation of Oceania. Oceania has been at war for as long as anyone can remember, and is ruled by an ultra-totalitarian Party, whose leader is a quasi-mythical figure called Big Brother. In short, everything about this world is as it is in Orwell’s 1984.

All her life, Julia has known only Oceania, and, until she meets Winston Smith, she has never imagined anything else. She is an ideal citizen: cheerfully cynical, always ready with a bribe, piously repeating every political slogan while believing in nothing. She routinely breaks the rules, but also collaborates with the regime when necessary. Everyone likes Julia.

Then one day she finds herself walking toward Winston Smith in a corridor and impulsively slips him a note, setting in motion the devastating, unforgettable events of the classic story. Julia takes us on a surprising journey through Orwell’s now-iconic dystopia, with twists that reveal unexpected sides not only to Julia, but to other familiar figures in the 1984 universe. This unique perspective lays bare our own world in haunting and provocative ways, just as the original did almost seventy-five years ago.

3 Reviews

Loudly Crying Face“File this under books that never needed to be written. And those who state that this is a feminist re-imagining of Nineteen Eighty-Four are, with respect, full of crap. Myself, and two of my female friends (who adore feminist authors like Atwood, Morrison, Walker and Butler) read this and found it greatly lacking. Whereas Nineteen Eighty-Four was a “now-iconic” classic, this book is definitely not. Much like most of Newman’s previous novels, this one is forgettable.”
“Thanks to NetGalley for this early read. I totally picked this book by the title and description. I was born in 1984, and I enjoyed the original book so I wanted to experience another telling from the female perspective. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the book once I really got into it. It took a little bit to get into the rhythm and writing but once I focused I couldn't put it down. Had some Handmaid's Tale vibes and even felt foreshadowing regarding some of the political issues we have faced in the world. The entire book took be back to classic storytelling and still refreshing for the current time. If you're a fan of old and new books or a blend of traditions, then try this book out.”

About Sandra Newman

Sandra Newman is the author of the novels The Men, The Heavens (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year), and The Country of Ice Cream Star, longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and NPR, as well as several other works of fiction and nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in Harper’s and Granta, among other publications. She lives in New York City.

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