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The Collections by Patricia Donovan


The Collections is dystopian drama set in New Zealand in 2041. It’s a future that is recognisable with life as we know it now, but the population has exploded world-wide and the planet is in crisis. So the government has legalised what they call 'Collections’ where everyone turning seventy years of age is euthanised for the good of society at the ‘Collections Depots.’


The novel follows the story of Claris who works at a government Collections Depot. Once a job she thought was valuable – helping others to have a peaceful death – now is something she struggles with. She is a bad state when we meet her at the start of the novel. Her beloved husband has recently been euthanised, something he has done willingly for the planet, but as a grieving widow she finds her job increasing abhorrent, and she questions whether the governmental policy, is in, fact the right thing to do.


The Collections is a very intimate read, as we are drawn into Claris’ increasingly claustrophobic world, as she edges closer to the dreaded age of 70, and she makes the decision to somehow avoid being collected. But how does she do this? When she receives a message of help, how does she know if this is genuine or a trap?


I really liked that this novel isn’t strangely futuristic. It is a crowded New Zealand, but still familiar with streets and accommodation and shops. But it’s certainly a thought-provoking novel, that looks at society and our very humanity while considering over population and the effect on the planet. A haunting read, but thankfully with an ending that offers hope and redemption. The Collections is an accomplished novel by an extremely talented writer.


Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Mary Egan Publishing

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