Nominated by:

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, USA

Multnomah County Library, Portland, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

HarperCollins, USA

The Book of Joan

Lidia Yuknavitch    

The bestselling author of The Small Backs of Children offers a vision of our near-extinction and a heroine—a re-imagined Joan of Arc—poised to save a world ravaged by war, violence, and greed, and forever change history, in this provocative new novel.

In the near future, world wars have transformed the earth into a battleground. Fleeing the unending violence and the planet’s now-radioactive surface, humans have regrouped to a mysterious platform known as CIEL, hovering over their erstwhile home. The changed world has turned evolution on its head: the surviving humans have become sexless, hairless, pale-white creatures floating in isolation, inscribing stories upon their skin. Out of the ranks of the endless wars rises Jean de Men, a charismatic and bloodthirsty cult leader who turns CIEL into a quasi-corporate police state. A group of rebels unite to dismantle his iron rule—galvanized by the heroic song of Joan, a child-warrior who possesses a mysterious force that lives within her and communes with the earth.

When de Men and his armies turn Joan into a martyr, the consequences are astonishing. And no one—not the rebels, Jean de Men, or even Joan herself—can foresee the way her story and unique gift will forge the destiny of an entire world for generations. A riveting tale of destruction and love found in the direst of places—even at the extreme end of post-human experience—Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan raises questions about what it means to be human, the fluidity of sex and gender, and the role of art as a means for survival.

About the author

Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the National Bestselling novel The Small Backs of Children, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award’s Ken Kesey Award for Fiction as well as the Reader’s Choice Award, the novel Dora: A Headcase, and three books of short stories. Her widely acclaimed memoir The Chronology of Water was a finalist for a PEN Center USA award for creative nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award and the Oregon Book Award Reader’s Choice. She founded the workshop series Corporeal Writing in Portland Oregon, where she also teaches Women’s Studies, Film Studies, Writing, and Literature. She received her doctorate in Literature from the University of Oregon. She lives in Oregon with her husband Andy Mingo and their renaissance man son, Miles. She is a very good swimmer.

(from publisher)

Librarians’ comments:

This hypnotizing novel transcends both genre and gender to take readers far into the cosmos and back again to Earth. Extraordinary wealth inequality, environmental degradation, and violence seem to have left society in an irredeemable state, but this 21st century protagonist – a new Joan of Arc – builds a powerful resistance to oppression.

Joan of Arc serves as the hero’s model for this futuristic tale of hope and tragedy. A striking post-apocalyptic vision with lyrical, devastating prose and an uncompromising insistence on the primacy of the body and of nature.

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