The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi – sci-fi

Set in a distant future where many foods have become extinct due to disease, Anderson Lake goes undercover in Bangkok to find instances of these extinct fruits they may have survived. He meets Emiko, a Windup Girl (part human, part machine/genetically altered) who just wants to escape her servitude.

The thing that bugged me the most about this one was that I liked the idea of the story, but the writing style made me feel like I was constantly reading someones thoughts as if they were thinking them in English as their non-primary language. I understand many of the characters were not native English speakers, however, the way it was done made my reading sluggish and slow.

I liked Emiko as a character, but the others I was a little “eh” about. I found the ending to be more interesting than a majority of the book and wish I had read more of THAT story! Bacigalupi leaves things a little open at the end, so it’s possible there may be a sequel.

Bacigalupi really captures the idea of starvation and the fear of not knowing if the next food item you consume could lead to your death. We learn that the rich, or the calorie companies who control the seedstock for growing food, have access to immunizations against some of the food-borne diseases. The poor, however, live in the slums, trying to scrounge what they can and hope they don’t die from it.

I’m not sure this was really a complete story. I feel like we were given a look into a different world for just a smidgen of time. We learned some things about the people, their lives in Bangkok and the troubles they faced, but there was no real resolution to any of it. In the end, the poor were still poor and hungry, the diseases still swarmed, and politics was still politics.