My post-apocalyptic book club selection for this month.
Not actually post-apocalyptic as dystopian, Thompson's novel posits a near-future England which has been divided into four sectors, based on the four 'humors' of Hippocratic medicine. In order to describe these four areas, Thompson then has a narrator who manages to travel through all four restricted sectors: Red: for those of a sanguine temperament, who are expected to be positive and energetic. Yellow, choleric, for those with a tendency toward violence. Green, melancholic, for the depressed and insane. Blue, phlegmatic, for the tranquil and artistic.
I like Thompson's writing style, and his handling of the beginning of the book, with forcibly divided families, is very good. The creation of artificial geopolitical divisions is very much based on Berlin during the wall, and feels convincing.
However, as the book went on, I felt like it lost focus. The narrator was being mechanically moved from one place to another simply to illustrate the author's ideas. I liked the author's point about how people will often live up to the expectations placed upon them, but I didn't see the political utility of having whole sectors full of people expected to be aggressive yobs, or expected to be cripplingly depressed. I didn't feel like the execution of the idea lived up to its full potential. It wasn't bad though - I'd try another of the author's books if I come across one.