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The Crack Magazine

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Line by Niall Bourke

A country (probably England, or a version of it), sometime in the future. Willard and his mother live in a tent and are waiting in the Line. The Line consists of thousands, maybe millions, of people – all living in tents. The line, which people have lived in all their lives, occasionally moves forward. If you leave the Line, other than for the clearly designated reasons, then a terrible thing will happen to you. When Willard’s mother dies, however, Willard, and his girlfriend, Nyla, decide to make a dash for it to see what lies beyond the Line. This debut novel from Niall Bourke – a startling and innovative work of speculative fiction – touches on everything from migration to the refugee crisis; big data to the erosion of democracy; climate change to colonialism - but its chief concern becomes increasingly apparent when Willard and Nyla find themselves caught up in a darkly satirical dystopia where neoliberalism has reached its natural, and damning, endgame. RM

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