Title: Redder Days
Writer: Sue Rainsford
Publishing House: Doubleday
Date of Publication:March 11th 2021
Rating: 5 stars
‘’In short, there was nothing to do but accept it. Let our fears and beliefs settle around it.
Red wind, red sun, red hurricane.
That’s when we start running.
But block your ears and stuff your mouth,
When you see the red man coming.’’
The world has changed. Or so a man would have us believe. The Storm is coming, a force unknown and unutterable that will sweep everything away. The leader of an uncanny community ‘discards’’ the ones cursed with the Red, people – mostly women – who are thought to be burdened with an evil too ferocious to be explained. Two siblings, Anna and Adam, are trying to survive like shadows, meeting during the dawn and the dusk, burdened and scarred by the disappearance of their mother. What can be worse? The world that approaches its end or the bitter knowledge that your mother has abandoned you?
‘’-What reds are weak reds?Crimson, carmine, scarlet, pace.
–What reds are hurtful reds?
–What reds are carnal?
–Cochineal, cerise and sanguine.’’
This novel is one of the strangest, most atmospheric, enigmatic and utterly brilliant stories I’ve ever had the pleasure to encounter. Rainsford doesn’t rely on the same-old dystopia tropes to drive her novel forward. She wants to puzzle and confuse us, she wants us to question every page we read. Is this a dystopic society or a community that has fallen victim to a cult leader’s twisted ambitions? What is that Storm? How will it affect the characters? What happens to the women and children? And why is Red so threatening?
Red has always been the basis of a plethora of convictions, customs and legends. The colour of blood, of life and love and passion. The colour of revolution, of temptation, sin, and seduction. The colour of fire. Of menstruation and sex. And birth. There is a terrific, alluring feeling of danger and a deeply weird sense of sensuality throughout the story. The siblings have known no other member of the community close to their age. ‘’We’re like the sun and the moon, passing one another in the sky’’, and this is the very essence of the development of their characters. Adam is the sun, always trying to discover a crack, to shed light, to know the truth. Anna is like the moon. Secretive, mercurial, silent, wise and watchful. Two young adults that desire to be left alone by everyone, except their mother. But Eula left them long ago…
‘’I keep my fear here, in my right hand… Any time the fear gets too much I remind myself I can just cut my hand away.’’
To say more about this book is to spoil the pleasure of uncovering every layer of the story and the unique process of unveiling thoughts you didn’t know you have been keeping in your mind. This is my kind of book. The one that leaves you to ‘’fend’’ for yourself, the one that makes you a better reader. The one that doesn’t conform to the trash of our times.
‘’Fresh night, still and viscous.
The trees only ever so often creaking and making me think of winter when they tighten and buckle within their cases of ice and snow. The whole wood loud with a neighing sound you might mistake for horses. The red wolves calling out. Whisper of a track that red deer leave behind.
The woods and the gifts they give me. At the very bottoms of hills and at the very tops of trees. Kneeling in the stream and seeing my howl who always knows when and where to come for me.’’
Many thanks to Doubleday and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.