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'Speak' by Louisa Hall: EW review

Posted on


Current Status:
In Season

We gave it a B

A rotating chorus of voices fill this work: a pilgrim girl’s diary, code breaker Alan Turing’s letters, a husband’s and wife’s notes to each other, a computer programmer’s memoirs, and IM transcripts from Gaby, a 13-year-old who develops a mysterious condition after her beloved robot is taken from her. Each of their accounts is stored in the memory of MARY3, who is on her way to junkyard exile with hundreds of other bots, all banned for being too life-like and distracting people from human relationships. Hall wants to explore the limits between human and machine, but her stories feel unfinished and her characters flat. The exception is Gaby, whose intriguing tale could be a book itself. I wish Hall had spent more time on the ideas lurking just beneath the surface, like the silencing of women. B