Daily Mail - - Books Fiction -

by Joanne Ramos

(Bloomsbury £12.99, 336 pp) IN RE­CENT years, there has been a wave of dystopian nov­els about women’s re­pro­duc­tive rights, a la Mar­garet At­wood’s The Hand­maid’s Tale.

The lat­est is this U.S. de­but, about a sur­ro­gacy scheme cooked up by an en­tre­pre­neur, Mae Yu. She prom­ises em­ploy­ees a mam­moth pay­day if they can turn out per­fect ba­bies for her high-end clien­tele, af­ter nine months of 24/7 sur­veil­lance at a remote fa­cil­ity be­hind closed doors.

Crammed with ‘ Gotcha’- type re­ver­sals, the ac­tion cuts be­tween Mae Yu, whose so­lic­i­tous man­ner hides a ruth­lessly de­hu­man­is­ing world view, and Jane, an over-trust­ing Filipino sin­gle mother who signs up to be a sur­ro­gate af­ter los­ing her job as a nanny.

Her des­per­a­tion to se­cure the fu­ture of her own child, left with an aunt, makes her prey to Mae Yu’s trick­ery. This fu­els a nar­ra­tive re­sem­bling a cross be­tween Rose­mary’s Baby and Dave Eg­gers’s tech thriller The Circle.

Even if, by the end of the book, you can’t help feel­ing a bit ma­nip­u­lated your­self, this is still ad­dic­tive, thought­pro­vok­ing en­ter­tain­ment.

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