The Separation

Fiction - Science Fiction
306 Pages
Reviewed on 01/21/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Thomas Duffy is a New York based writer who has authored several fiction novels, including 2014's One Love. He finds stories of day-to-day challenges fascinating and intriguing. Duffy has written about different topics such as working in retail, romance, and existentialism. The Separation is his sixth novel and his first foray into science fiction. Duffy also has an interest in film criticism and has interviewed several celebrities from the silver screen, including Minnie Driver and Richard Dreyfuss.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite

What a fascinating idea! To be perfectly honest, I find it hard to imagine the circumstances where this might actually take place, but it is still a great idea to think about. At some point in the future, school is separated by gender. Eventually life is separated by gender, and there comes a time when most members of the opposite sex don't even know that there is an opposite sex. There have been some great novels about the differences between the sexes. The Handmaid's Tale showed the U.S. regressing in our treatment of women. Wonder Woman showed us an island where only women lived and those women don't think very much of men. All these are great ideas, but I think The Separation by Thomas Duffy is the best book I have ever read that illustrates the differences, similarities, and ultimately the interdependence between men and women. I liked it. I liked it a lot, and I'm still thinking about it.

The Separation is one of those rare books whose idea trumps characters, plot, setting, and everything else. Of course, all these other elements of a novel play a vital role in how Thomas Duffy tells his tale, but it is the idea itself that is the main jewel in this crown. Finn is a great character. I like him, but again, it is his situation that makes him compelling, just as much as it is his personality or any other trait. Once Thomas Duffy had this idea, the next step was how to present it. In other words, how will this play out? The answer to that question is called plot, and the plot of The Separation is good, though I think any plot would fall a little short of this idea. It's hard to tell you how special The Separation is. But it is easy to tell you how good it is. It is great.

Grant Leishman

Imagine, for a moment, a world where the sexes are separated at birth and brought up apart, never knowing of the existence of the other sex until after they graduate college, at around age 22. This is the scenario brought to us in Thomas Duffy’s science fiction novel, The Separation. The United States Government has decreed that because of the rising crime rate, high unemployment and massive rate of teenage pregnancies, the economy is suffering immensely. To fix this, all babies will be taken away from their parents at birth and raised separately in “boy States” and “girl States” – never the twain to meet. Finn was taken to a “boy State”, where he was raised by child minders and taught in boys only schools. Finn graduates from Harvard, a mathematical genius, and begins his successful career, as he has been groomed to do. The problem is, Finn is not only horrified and disgusted when he learns the truth about the sexes; he cannot accept that this is the way it should be.

The premise behind The Separation is an interesting one and Thomas Duffy explores many aspects of the moral and social dilemmas of what the State has done. His main character Finn is extremely intelligent and, as such, questions the way things are – the status quo. Although the writing is somewhat simplistic at times, the interest is maintained by the many moral questions Finn raises in his mind and to which he then seeks answers. Finn as a character is well-developed, but some of the supporting characters came across as rather flat and almost like cardboard cut-outs. The story is very easy to read, as the writing is simple and straightforward, although the dialogue did seem at times to be too clipped to be realistic. All in all, a good premise that has been thoroughly worked by Duffy and an interesting story that raised questions in my mind as a reader.

Dawn Johnson

Amazing Book, I love it. The way Finn's character plays out is so interesting. Definitely kept my interest.