Vox by Christina Dalcher.
It’s not hard to imagine a future (present or past) where women’s lives are controlled by men. And how is that control achieved in Vox? By language - the lack of, to be precise. In Vox women are only allowed 100 words a day. They wear a silver band on their wrist that shocks them if they go over that limit, increasing in voltage with every word above the limit. It's all part of a return to 'traditional values'. "Pure"
Jeanne McClellan was a neurolinguist before her voice was taken away. It is only when the new president needs a cure for his brother that her bracelet is taken off and she’s brought in to resume work on her research - restoring language to brain-damaged individuals. But with every suppression...there's resistance. Vox details a time in the near future that isn't too hard to imagine.
I enjoyed Dalcher's world building. And yes, it's not much of a stretch to see the traditional value, male dominated society. Dalcher herself has worked in the linguistics field and that knowledge gave the plot depth and detail. There's lots of action as the tension ramps up to the final 'showdown'. The author has created a good cast of characters in both Jeanne and supporting players. I did find myself more drawn to those supporters though, instead of Jeanne. I didn't agree with some of her decisions or treatment of other resistance members.
Some developments and plot directions seemed a bit quick, if you will. There were points where I felt there should be more plausibility built in. But, on reading the publisher's notes, I learned that Vox was written in two months - which is pretty darn amazing.
There's lots of food for thought in Vox, mirroring many of today's news headlines. I was thoroughly entertained by Vox and would be curious to see what Dalcher writes next. Here's an excerpt of Vox. (And that cover is great isn't it?!)