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These Fragile Graces, This Fugitive Heart

THESE FRAGILE GRACES, THIS FUGITIVE HEART by Izzy Wasserstein is a quick, fun murder mystery set in an anarchist compound in the wasteland of a Midwestern American city in the not-so-distant future.

I'm not always good with bleak futures--I get to thinking too much about the kids in my life and what they're going to grow up and have to cope with. It's a heavy thing to think about, when you love a couple of kids who were just born in 2023. Realistically, you've got to assume they're going to see some awful, incredible things. This book's future isn't one I would want kids to grow up in--which, I suppose, makes it not too different from the present in a lot of ways. And from the future we're definitely going to get.

A grim future can make for a fun story, of course, and this one is a cool cyberpunk mystery full of clones, mind control, mistaken identities, queerness, and shadowy corporations in cold wars with each other. Dora, the main character, is complex and bitter, scarred as a junkyard dog but also sweet.

There's a lot in here about being a child of the near past and what that means, which is perhaps why I felt so many feelings about my own descendants. A very bittersweet book.


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