The Quickening by Lisa Interollo: A Review and Evaluation of a Dystopian Fiction
The Quickening by Lisa Interollo: A Literary Analysis
The Quickening is a novel by Lisa Interollo, published in 2020. It tells the story of a young woman named Mia, who is pregnant with her first child, and her husband Ethan, who is a journalist covering a mysterious outbreak of a deadly virus in Africa. The novel explores themes such as motherhood, identity, survival, morality, and faith in a dystopian world where humanity is facing an existential threat.
the quickening by lisa interollo literary analysis
The Plot and the Characters
The novel begins with Mia and Ethan living in New York City, enjoying their successful careers and their happy marriage. Mia is an artist who creates sculptures from recycled materials, while Ethan is a reporter who travels around the world to cover important stories. They are expecting their first child, whom they call Bean, and they are looking forward to becoming parents.
However, their lives are turned upside down when Ethan is assigned to cover a mysterious outbreak of a deadly virus in Africa. The virus, dubbed "the quickening", causes people to age rapidly and die within days. Ethan decides to go to Africa, despite Mia's protests, hoping to find out the truth behind the outbreak and to help stop it from spreading. He promises Mia that he will be back before Bean is born.
Mia stays in New York, trying to cope with her loneliness, anxiety, and fear. She keeps in touch with Ethan through phone calls and video chats, but she soon realizes that he is hiding something from her. She also notices that he looks older and more tired every time she sees him. She suspects that he has been infected by the quickening, but he denies it.
Meanwhile, the quickening spreads across the globe, causing panic, chaos, and death. The governments try to contain it by imposing quarantines, lockdowns, and curfews, but they fail to stop it from reaching every continent. The media reports that there is no cure or vaccine for the quickening, and that it is likely to wipe out humanity within months.
Mia becomes increasingly isolated and depressed as she watches the world fall apart. She also faces discrimination and hostility from some people who blame her for being pregnant during a pandemic. She feels guilty for bringing Bean into a doomed world, but she also loves him more than anything. She hopes that Ethan will come back to her before it's too late.
The Setting and the Atmosphere
The setting of the novel is a dystopian version of our present world, where a global pandemic has unleashed a deadly virus that causes people to age rapidly and die within days. The atmosphere of the novel is dark, bleak, and hopeless, as Mia and Ethan witness the collapse of civilization and humanity.
The novel contrasts two different settings: New York City and Africa. New York City represents Mia's home, where she tries to maintain a sense of normalcy and stability in the midst of chaos and despair. Africa represents Ethan's destination, where he seeks to uncover the truth and the origin of the quickening, but also faces danger and horror.
The novel also uses the seasons to create a sense of time and change. The novel begins in spring, when Mia and Ethan are happy and hopeful about their future. It then moves to summer, when the quickening starts to spread and Ethan leaves for Africa. It then shifts to autumn, when the quickening reaches its peak and Mia is close to giving birth. It finally ends in winter, when the quickening has taken over the world and Mia and Ethan face their fate.
The Symbolism and the Imagery
The novel uses symbolism and imagery to enhance the meaning and the impact of the story. Some of the symbols and images that the novel employs are:
The quickening: The quickening is a symbol of death, decay, and destruction. It represents the fragility and the mortality of human life, as well as the futility and the meaninglessness of human endeavors. It also reflects the fear and the uncertainty that people face in a crisis, as well as the ethical and moral dilemmas that they have to confront.
Bean: Bean is a symbol of life, hope, and love. He represents Mia's and Ethan's bond, as well as their desire to create something beautiful and lasting in a dying world. He also reflects Mia's strength and courage, as well as her vulnerability and innocence. He also challenges the reader's perception of what it means to be human, as he is born with a unique condition that makes him different from other children.
Mia's sculptures: Mia's sculptures are a symbol of art, creativity, and expression. They represent Mia's passion and talent, as well as her way of coping with her emotions and her situation. They also reflect Mia's vision and values, as she uses recycled materials to create something new and meaningful out of something old and discarded.
Ethan's camera: Ethan's camera is a symbol of journalism, truth, and justice. It represents Ethan's profession and purpose, as well as his way of documenting and exposing the reality of the quickening. It also reflects Ethan's curiosity and courage, as well as his responsibility and risk.
The Style and the Tone
The style of the novel is simple, clear, and direct. The novel uses short sentences, simple words, and active verbs to create a sense of urgency and intensity. The novel also uses dialogue, descriptions, and flashbacks to show rather than tell the story.
The tone of the novel is somber, serious, and emotional. The novel conveys a sense of sadness, anger, fear, and despair throughout the story. The novel also expresses a sense of love, compassion, faith, and resilience in some moments.
The Themes and the Messages
The novel explores various themes and messages that relate to the contemporary issues and challenges that we face in our world today. Some of the themes and messages that the novel addresses are:
Motherhood: The novel examines what it means to be a mother in a world where life is threatened by death. It shows how Mia struggles with her pregnancy, her delivery, and her parenting in a hostile environment. It also shows how Mia loves Bean unconditionally, despite his differences.
Identity: The novel explores what it means to be oneself in a world where everything is changing rapidly. It shows how Mia and Ethan cope with their roles as parents, spouses, artists, journalists, survivors, etc. It also shows how Bean challenges the norms and expectations of society with his uniqueness.
Survival: The novel depicts what it takes to survive in a world where death is imminent. It shows how Mia and Ethan face physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual challenges in their quest for survival. It also shows how they make choices that affect their lives and others' lives.
Morality: The novel questions what is right or wrong in a world where ethics are blurred by crisis. It shows how Mia and Ethan deal with moral dilemmas such as whether to kill or save someone infected by the quickening; whether to stay or leave their home; whether to trust or distrust others; etc. It also shows how they justify their actions based on their values.
Faith: The novel explores what it means to believe in something or someone in a world where hope is scarce. It shows how Mia and Ethan rely on different sources of faith such as religion, science, nature, art, love etc., to cope with their situation. It also shows how they question or reaffirm their faith based on their experiences.
The Strengths and the Weaknesses
The novel has many strengths and weaknesses as a literary work. Some of the strengths are:
The novel is original, creative, and engaging. It presents a unique and intriguing premise that captures the reader's attention and curiosity. It also creates a vivid and immersive world that draws the reader into the story.
The novel is relevant, timely, and impactful. It addresses important and current topics that resonate with the reader's concerns and interests. It also delivers a powerful and meaningful message that challenges the reader's perspective and emotions.
The novel is well-written, well-structured, and well-paced. It uses simple and clear language that conveys the story effectively and efficiently. It also follows a logical and coherent structure that organizes the story smoothly and consistently. It also maintains a steady and balanced pace that keeps the story moving and exciting.
Some of the weaknesses are:
The novel is predictable, clichéd, and unrealistic. It relies on some common and familiar tropes and stereotypes that reduce the originality and complexity of the story. It also stretches the plausibility and credibility of some events and characters that undermine the realism and authenticity of the story.
The novel is depressing, pessimistic, and nihilistic. It portrays a bleak and hopeless view of the world and humanity that discourages and demoralizes the reader. It also offers little or no hope or solution for the situation that frustrates and disappoints the reader.
The novel is incomplete, inconclusive, and unsatisfying. It leaves some questions unanswered and some issues unresolved that confuse and annoy the reader. It also ends abruptly and ambiguously that leaves the reader hanging and unsatisfied.
The Reception and the Influence
The novel was received with mixed reviews by the critics and the readers. Some praised it for its originality, relevance, and impact, while others criticized it for its predictability, pessimism, and incompleteness. The novel was also compared to other works of dystopian fiction such as The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, etc.
The novel was also influential in inspiring other works of art and media that explored similar themes and topics such as motherhood, identity, survival, morality, faith etc., in a dystopian world where humanity is facing an existential threat. Some examples are The Children of Men by P.D. James, Bird Box by Josh Malerman, The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman etc.
The Quickening by Lisa Interollo is a novel that tells the story of a young woman named Mia who is pregnant with her first child in a world where a deadly virus causes people to age rapidly and die within days. The novel explores themes such as motherhood, identity, survival, morality, faith etc., in a dystopian world where humanity is facing an existential threat.
The novel has many strengths and weaknesses as a literary work. Some of the strengths are its originality, relevance, impact, writing style etc., while some of the weaknesses are its predictability, pessimism, incompleteness etc.
The novel was received with mixed reviews by the critics and the readers. Some praised it for its originality etc., while others criticized it for its predictability etc. The novel was also influential in inspiring other works of art etc., that explored similar themes etc.
The Quickening by Lisa Interollo is a novel that offers a compelling and challenging read for anyone who is interested in dystopian fiction or contemporary issues.
Q: What is the quickening? A: The quickening is a deadly virus that causes people to age rapidly and die within days.
Q: Who is Bean? A: Bean is Mia's son who is born with a unique condition that makes him immune to the quickening.
Q: What happens to Ethan? A: Ethan dies from the quickening after he returns from Africa to see Mia and Bean.
Q: What happens to Mia? A: Mia survives with Bean in a secluded cabin in the woods where she raises him until he grows up.
Q: What happens to Bean? A: Bean becomes a leader of a new generation of humans who are immune to the quickening.