M.R.Carey - The Girl With All the Gifts

The Girl With All the Gifts

The story of Melanie and the people around her is so thoughtfully crafted, so heartfelt, remorseless and painfully human, that it takes the potentially tired trope of the zombie apocalypse and makes it as fresh as it is terrifying. The story spirals towards a conclusion so surprising, so warm and yet so chilling, that it takes a moment to realize it's been earned since the first page, and even before. It left me sighing with envious joy, like I'd been simultaneously offered flowers and beaten at chess. A jewel.

(Joss Whedon, Via)

Wenn Joss Whedon ein Buch derart anpreist, muß ich es natürlich kaufen – und ich bin gerade dabei, es gewissermaßen zu verschlingen.

Dabei ist es zuerst einmal nicht so sehr die Story, die mich auf dem Sofa hält – das ist ein Thriller, der außerordentlich gut geschrieben ist.

Im Zentrum steht der Alltag eines zehnjährigen Mädchens, der alles andere als alltäglich ist, der jedoch aus ihrer Sicht und in ihrer Sprache erzählt wird. M.R.Carey gelingt das Kunststück, die Seele eines Kindes sprachlich so zu transportieren, daß man kaum anders kann, als sich an eine Periode der eigenen Kindheit, der eigenen Unschuld zurückzuerinnern. Die finstere Dystopie, die den Rahmen der Erzählung ausmacht, kann vor solch einem Kontrast kaum harscher wirken.

Melanie beobachtet Mr Whitaker, einen ihrer Lehrer:

Mr Whitaker is having one of those up-and-down days when he brings his bottle into class – the bottle full to the brim with the medicine that makes him first better and then worse. Melanie has watched this strange and mildly disturbing progress enough times that she can predict its course. Mr Whitaker comes into class nervous and irritable, determined to find fault with everything the children say or do. Then he drinks the medicine, and it spreads through him like ink through water (it was Miss Justineau who showed them what that looks like). His body relaxes, losing its tics and twitches. His mind relaxes too, and for a little while he’s gentle and patient with everyone. If he could only stop at that point, it would be wonderful, but he keeps drinking and the miracle is reversed. It’s not that Mr Whitaker gets grumpy again. What he gets is something worse, something quite awful, that Melanie doesn’t have a name for. He seems to sink in on himself in total misery, and at the same time try to shrink away from himself as though there’s something inside him that’s too nasty to touch. Sometimes he cries, and says he’s sorry – not to the children, but to someone else who isn’t really there, and whose name keeps changing.

Es braucht kein Psychogramm von Dr. Caroline Caldwell, um aus wenigen Zeilen schließen zu können, mit wem man es hier zu tun hat (einem Prototyp des „Mad Scientist“):

Caldwell makes a non-committal gesture, purses her lips. She wears lipstick every day, despite its scarcity, and she wears it to good effect; puts up an optimal front to the world. In an age of rust, she comes up stainless steel.

Die beiden Zitate sind keine mühsam zusammengesuchten Perlen, sondern Beispiele für den Ton, der jede Zeile der Erzählung trägt.