Review Blog

Jul 31 2014

Sand by Hugh Howey

cover image

Century, 2014. ISBN 9781780893198.
(Age: Senior secondary) Highly recommended. Howey creates a very believable world in this bleak science fiction of the future. The people of this time live in a relentless environment of constant wind, no rain, and sand everywhere. It follows the lives of one family, talented at sand diving, as they eke out their existence in this tough, somewhat anarchic society reminiscent of the Wild West - and indeed the reader can deduce that it is set in the state of Colorado, USA. Sand divers submerge themselves in the sand to considerable depths to salvage materials from the buried cities of a former era for profit and survival.
The characterisation is excellent - even minor characters are well-rounded - and as this novel unfolds, mostly through the eyes of the three older children, who are in their late teens and early twenties, we gain insights not only into the dynamics of this family whose father has abandoned them more than a decade previously, but into the power struggles and politics of this society and others beyond it.
Howey has written a book with many discussion points: loyalty, family, anarchy, ignorance, greed, and environmental waste being the major ones. This is a gripping book, well crafted, and highly recommended for senior students.
Anne Veitch

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