| Home | Fiction | Listserv | Creative Archives | Scholarly Archives |
| Book Review Archives | Critical Essays | Contribute | Search the Site |

Second Generation
By Susan Scutti
Review by: Moira Richards

  1/1/04

ISBN: 0595268803
Susan Scutti wrote me, together with the review copy of Second Generation, that she had written, "unintentionally . . . a feminist suspense novel" and I do not think she could have done a better job in the genre had she written Second Generation with that intent. I have reservations about writing a rave review of a book because I know that may result in disappointment to readers who might then approach the book with too-high expectations. So I shan't write a rave review, I shall try instead to write restrained opinion of Second Generation :-)

I cannot talk very much about the central issues of the novel because that would spoil the plot for the reader. Suffice to hint that it deals with surrogate motherhood and the as-yet unresolved ethical implications of modern scientific research and practice. Set just a few years into the future, the novel also encompasses some of the subtlest kind of "what-if" science fiction.

The story narrates a period in the lives of two young New York women, Meredith Lamm and Diana Ferro who do not know each other, and the chapters alternate from one woman to the other and back again. Not only do the two storylines run seemingly unconnectedly through much of the book, but also they travel at differing speeds through the eight-year period that reaches from 1998 to 2006. Also, for a reason that only becomes clear later in the book, the account of the life of one of the women Diana Ferro is presented to the reader as if she were recorded on videotape that the reader is viewing. This makes interesting contrast with the story of Meredith Lamm that is narrated conventionally in the third person.

Scutti writes compelling prose that engages the reader's interest from the start, and never lets it flag. Overall, Second Generation is a satisfying and suspenseful whodunit/whydunit with likeable protagonists and skin-crawling villains. But enough thoughtfulness has gone into the novel, that it raises some serious what-if questions about uncontrolled power and the chilling possible consequences of such power.

 




| Home | Fiction | Listserv | Creative Archives | Scholarly Archives |
| Book Review Archives | Critical Essays | Contribute | Search the Site |

Contact Us