The Predictions (May 5, 2015) by Bianca Zander

The PredictionsThe Predictions by Bianca Zander

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have contradictory feelings about this novel by author Bianca Zander.
British-born Zander has lived in New Zealand for 20 years, where she is a creative-writing lecturer and recipient of writing awards and bursaries. In The Predictions, she spins a tale that spans the globe from New Zealand to Great Britain.
The Predictions is the story of Poppy, a young woman growing up in a commune called Gaialands in New Zealand in the 1970’s.
Part of what I didn’t like about The Predictions was the way in which it was narrated; Poppy tells us the story of her life in linear fashion, as if she is writing her memoir. The narrative style gives the story a sense of already having been completed and thus set in stone. This diminished my emotional engagement with the characters.
The memoir style also meant that Poppy tells us about her life in hindsight, which serves to distance her from her own experiences. As she reflects on her life, she judges people and interprets events in a way which sometimes feels didactic and self-satisfied.
Although Poppy encounters many diverse situations and types (“types” being an operative word here) of people in her life, she herself begins and ends the novel as much the same person.
Finally, I think it’s worth noting that The Predictions ends with Poppy in her 30’s. As the novel concludes, we very much get the sense that Poppy has completed her life arc…her biggest troubles and struggles are behind her. As a reader, I wasn’t satisfied or impressed by this.
What I did like about The Predictions was that it was an interesting story, with settings ranging from a commune in rural New Zealand to the heavy metal/glam rock scene in London in the 1980’s, to women’s right’s marches. What I didn’t like was the perspective from which these potentially fascinating and complex situations were viewed.
Thank you to William Morrow Publishers for my review copy of The Predictions.

View all my reviews

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