Stop trying to make this book be Mad Max; it’s not going to happen. No one is I realize, but there’s an embarrassing blurb on the back of the book that makes that reference.
Instead, this book is about two women who vaguely recognize themselves waking up, chained, wreaked, and imprisoned in an Outback stronghold. They don’t like each other. It’s an imprisonment novel, but it’s not a captive horror movie genre type novel. This isn’t torture porn, luckily, and it’s not that ONE SCENE FROM THE ROAD type of book either. It’s a highly stylized novel with a thin allegory to it about the ways in which women are treated. I am not saying the above in order to criticize the novel, because over all it’s pretty good, but more so to let you know that you’re not walking into something much worse than this book actually is.
It’s not fun to read about forced captivity, obviously, and sometimes political allegory feels a little too on the nose or a little too off the nose to make a real impact. I think the subtlety of this novel, if it can be subtle at all, is in its slow reveal of the conceit in the novel and how that slowness never turns into a bigness. This is a novel with some world-building elements to it, but not a world-reveal or anything. The scope starts small and stays small.
In that way, it’s less Margaret Atwood, and more so a JG Ballard type novel, just with pretty much no irony.