January 15, 2019
Citadel is a novel within a novel, both with the same name. The interior Citadel is a historical diary of a speculative future where women have taken control of their safety. This history is revealed bit by bit through present-day characters, primarily women, who write, edit and read the novel, and are profoundly changed by it.
Trisha is an editor working on Citadel, written by Daiva. Daiva is a geneticist who has created a world in which women reject normalized misogyny and choose control of their own lives and reproduction. Scientific reports and character entries in Diava’s speculative novel unfold as a believable, unique and dangerous reality.
Through Trisha’s editorial comments and proposed changes to the novel Citadel, Jack Remick teaches the reader how a good writer develops characters (i.e.; note to Diava on page 123 and 192), and how inconsistencies cause confusion (page 134 and 153). Through these informational “sidebars” of Trisha’s, Remick asks the deeper and necessary questions the reader needs to know to better understand Citadel’s science, philosophy, and evolved morality.
Citadel bears witness to women “caught in the niche” between life and death (page 286), with no control over themselves. The historical entries of the various characters in Diava’s novel are often grisly, poignant or sadly familiar, and always exciting and unpredictable. The present-day characters reading Citadel relate to the experiences of the historical figures they are reading about. The world Citadel creates is anchored by reason and rules, and sacrifice for safety and survival.
Reading Citadel reminded me that inside my older self is a younger, more idealistic and less compromising woman. Euphemisms such as Violence Against Women distance men from their cruelty, torture and murder of women, as if the perpetrators of the violence are a mystery, or women’s violence against each other is the problem. Jack Remick’s novel, Citadel, is an exercise in exploring the trajectory women might take to live in a safe world.
January 14, 2019
Trisha deTours is a book editor for women’s erotic fiction at Pinnacle Books. Her personal life often reflects the books she edits as Trisha hunts for men on the beach and discards them after sex. When scientist, Daiva Izokaitis moves into Trisha’s complex, Trisha finds a new friend and discovers that she has written a manuscript. The manuscript doesn’t exactly fit in with with Pinnacle’s normal works, but might be exactly what they are looking for. As Trisha dives into Daiva’s book, Citadel described as a post-lesbian, scientific look at our future, Trisha becomes immersed in the characters and story so much that she begins to mix reality and fiction to become one of the characters herself. As Citadel blends more into real life, Trisha and Daiva are helping to create the future of Citadel.
Citadel is a very different and surprising work. Using the technique of a book within a book, we see the editing process as well as the effect that a book can have on the reader. When Trisha began to read Daiva’s manuscript, I think I was just as confused and intrigued as Trisha. The manuscript is difficult to read at first, however, like Trisha, I could see parts of myself and other women I know in the characters. The writing is very in your face, not hiding any of the issues that women in every culture may deal with on a daily basis. There is also a good amount of science involved in the novel as Daiva is works with genetics and bases her book on current research such as creating life without the Y chromosome. With this addition of science, a lot of important questions arise such as: What is human? What is desire? Can we ever live together peacefully? For me, the most interesting part of the story is that Citadel begins to become reality as more people read Daiva’s book. Overall, a unique and important story that will connect with many readers.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.