Max Barry’s latest novel is a linguistic thriller, in which words are weapons that can control and destroy. Wielded by highly trained “poets” — and the renegades among them — words are used to manipulate people according to their personality sector. Once used against you, neither your will nor your life is your own… except for Wil Parke, the “outlier” who seems to be immune to words and can’t remember how he became that way. The great mystery Wil and his captors face is to find what really happened to wipe Broken Hill off the map a year ago, and who is really responsible? Is it the rebel poet Woolf, one-time street hustler, teen-girl card sharp and formerly the organisation’s most promising recruit?
This was a gripping read, sparsely written with a vibrant combination of action scenes and neurolinguistic theory (don’t ever forget that words have made you who you are!). Most enjoyable, with plenty of food for thought.
Lexicon – Max Barry – Hamish Hamilton – TP – $30