Restoring Harmony: 03/06/12
Restoring Harmony by Joëlle Anthony is a Canadian near future speculative fiction for young adults. While mostly set in the United States, Molly McClure is Canadian through-and-through and she has only one goal in mind, getting her grandparents safely from Gresham, Oregon to her small island near Vancouver, British Columbia.
Right now the trip between any of the small islands near Vancouver to the Portland suburb takes roughly six and a half hours by car (and ferry) and less by plane. In 2041 when the remaining oil is under control of the worlds' governments, the trip takes roughly 31 hours and that's on a good day.
Where travel is so difficult and the border is even more closed than it is today, one needs a compelling reason to go all that way. For Molly it comes with an incomplete phone call about her grandmother. Her parents assume the worst and believe the hospital was trying say that her grandmother had died. Not wanting to leave the grandfather on his own and with the hope of mending fences, Molly is sent to bring him home.
Molly discovers a country controlled by organized crime, working mostly on the barter system. There is still issued money but it's hard to come by and easy to lose. Along with rampant unemployment, most folks are living without power or easy access to food (beyond what they can grow on their own).
In spite of all this hardship, Restoring Harmony isn't exactly a dystopian novel. The present day countries, states and cities are still there and still functioning (more or less). The trains still run, some planes still fly, and for those not running from the law or the Organization, the highways are still there. Things are in poor repair but still recognizable and there's an unbroken history of how things fell apart.
Restoring Harmony, thus, feels more like speculative fiction with an homage to Grapes of Wrath. There is a similar cast of characters and the road trip, though it's a round trip journey. There aren't work camps but there are squatter camps.
Comment #1: Wednesday, March 07, 2012 at 11:41:20
Hi. I generally try not to read reviews of my own books, but now that RH has been out so long, I find myself reading the occasional one when links pop up on Twitter. I have to tell you that this is possibly the best written review I've read of it! And not just because you liked it. Your writing is lovely. Thanks!
Comment #2: Wednesday, March 07, 2012 at 22:12:02
Thank you for the lovely comment. You've made my day.