On the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic comes another viral disease, one that causes the infected to seemingly go into a trance before attacking and murdering the closest human or animal. Dubbed The Violence, this new disease is only seemingly infecting those in warmer climates. While it isn’t long until a vaccine is discovered, it is quickly privatized and sold at a hefty $30k per shot leaving the wealthy protected while the rest of the population suffers.
At the heart of the novel are three generations of women – a grandmother, a mother and a daughter. Patricia, the matriarch of the family – wealthy and vaccinated – is filled to the brim with arrogance, thus fostering a contentious relationship with her daughter and grand daughter. The mother, Chelsea, has been a long-suffering victim of domestic violence at the hands of her psychopathic husband. The daughter, Ella, has her own problems as she deals with her controlling and manipulative boyfriend.
As The Violence grips a nation already fatigued from a pandemic, the virus finds its way into this family threatening to change all their lives forever.
Delilah Dawson’s novel intrigued me when someone recommended it and after purchasing it earlier this year, I allowed it to sit on the back burner until spooky season arrived. You’d think having gone through – and still going through – a global pandemic would have me avoiding these types of stories, but they’re just becoming more interesting than ever.
While I thought this started out strong, I didn’t feel like it ever quite shifted into second gear. Maybe it was a little longer than it needed to be and although where Dawson takes Chelsea should be something right up my alley, it felt a little too unbelievable and hard to grasp as time went on even though it mirrors a certain industry’s refusal to stop in the face of the early days of Covid-19.
I will say that the brutality is absolutely relentless. As Dawson says in the pages before the novel begins, if you have a tough time with animal death, this will be one you will likely have difficulty with. Many of the scenes where The Violence grips someone are terrifyingly intense.
The Violence mirrors real life in that I don’t believe as a species, we’ve learned anything following the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of empathy. While some reviews have pointed out that privatizing the vaccine does not make much sense in the face of a virus that could lead to the collapse of society, it is not like you have to stretch your imagination too hard to see this as a very real side-effect of uncaring capitalism