What About Forgiveness?

  Hillary Jordan is a master of her craft. Her most-recent novel, When She Woke , is a pleasure to read. She paints exquisite word pictures. The story is a clever attention-holder with layers of subtlety and unexpected twists and turns. The main character in When She Woke , Hannah, is convicted of murder for aborting her unborn baby. The government, in league with fundamentalist Christianity, has adopted a policy of shaming law breakers via a technique called "chroming". A virus is injected into the convicted. The virus turns their skin a color corresponding to their crime. Hannah's skin is colored a deep red because she is a convicted murderer. Like the other chromes, Hannah is released back into society, her crime literally radiating from her skin - A Scarlet Letter , anyone? In interviews, Jordan confirms what is clearly obvious as we read: She wrote against what she perceives as a rising tide of religious fundamentalism - and how that might threaten legal abortions. W

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