The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers

The Testament of Jessie Lamb

Jane Rogers

Human society is turned upside down by a deadly man-made virus that attacks pregnant women. How can the human race survive? That's the setting for this heart-breaking first-person narrative told by 16-year-old Jessie Lamb as she makes a decision which cuts her off from her parents, boyfriend and best friend. Troubling ethical issues are given flesh and blood to make a riveting page turner.

Extract

We used to take a picnic up on the moors, above Dovestones, we called it Kingfisher Valley. The ferns were taller than me and we used to play hide and seek for hours, till the air was full of the green smell of crushed fern. Dad saw a kingfisher, he said it was electric, the bluest bird in all the land, better than a peacock. We used to sit very still and watch for it. We were happy then, the three of us. Now it was the two of them against me. The way they lived was horrible.
Later on, Dad came back and knocked again. He had a toasted teacake for me. I let him in and he sat on the edge of the bed. 'I heard some good news today,' he told me.
'Right. About trashing the planet.'
'No actually. About surviving MDS.'
'It wouldn't even have spread if it wasn't for people like you.'
'What d'you mean?'
'The virus was released at airports. If everybody stopped flying -'
'It would be shutting the stable door. What do you want, a return to the dark ages?'

Parallels
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguru
  • Children of Men by P D James

Books with similar mood

Alice Bliss

Laura Harrington

Catching the Light

Karen Powell

Ancient Promises

Jaishree Misra

The Poet's Wife

Judith Allnatt

The Cookbook Collector

Allegra Goodman

After Rain

William Trevor

The Bride from Odessa

Edgardo Cozarinsky

Haunted Ground

Erin Hart

Oxygen

Andrew Miller

The Old Man Who Read Love Stories

Luis Sepulveda

The Way of Love

Nigel Watts

The Forms of Water

Andrea Barrett

The Lowland

Jhumpa Lahiri

In the Falling Snow

Caryl Phillips

The Poetry Cure

Julia Darling and Cynthia Fuller (eds)

The Main Cages

Philip Marsden

Family Matters

Rohinton Mistry

The Seven Sisters

Margaret Drabble

Pears on a Willow Tree

Leslie Pietrzyk

The Light Between Oceans

M L Stedman

Pollard

Laura Beatty

Someone Else

Tonino Benacquista

The Cryptographer

Tobias Hill

The Story of Lucy Gault

William Trevor

Cranberry Queen

Kathleen DeMarco

Telling Liddy

Anne Fine

Errors of the Spirit

Joolz

Field Study

Rachel Seiffert

A Kind of Freedom

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

The Sealwoman's Gift

Sally Magnussen

The Last of Us

Rob Ewing

Death in Pont-Aven

Jean-Luc Bannalec

This is Paradise

Will Eaves

Flight Behaviour

Barbara Kingsolver

Crow Lake

Mary Lawson

The Golden Door

Kerry Jamieson

The Broken Places

Susan Perabo

The Secret History Of Modernism

C K Stead

Unless

Carol Shields

Ghost MacIndoe

Jonathan Buckley

Revenge of the Middle-aged Woman

Elizabeth Buchan

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Tracy Chevalier

James Miranda Barry

Patricia Duncker

Pieces of Light

Adam Thorpe

Old Filth

Jane Gardam

The Laws of Evening

Mary Waters

Wild Geese

Lara Harte

Lucca

Jens Christian Grondahl