Anna MacDonald reviews 'The Fortress' by S.A. Jones

Anna MacDonald reviews 'The Fortress' by S.A. Jones

The Fortress

by S.A. Jones

Echo Publishing, $32.99 pb, 277 pp, 9781760407940

This speculative novel is of the Zeitgeist. S.A. Jones imagines a civilisation of women – the Vaik – committed to ‘Work. History. Sex. Justice.’ Although they live apart, in ‘The Fortress’, there is a history of exchange between the Vaik and the outside world. All women are entitled to Vaik justice if they have been violated and, according to a treaty that includes ‘biological guarantees’, Vaik are ‘granted access to men and sperm’. Thus, The Fortress accommodates men: national servicemen; ‘isvestyii’ who, having committed crimes against women and girls, are sentenced to life (and death) at The Fortress; permanent residents; and ‘supplicants’. These men work – in the fields, the kitchens, etc. – and must consent to the Vaik ‘direct[ing] the uses of [their bodies] at all times’.

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Published in May 2018, no. 401
Anna MacDonald

Anna MacDonald

Anna MacDonald writes about spatial poetics and the topographical imagination. She has published numerous essays on W.G. Sebald, Gaston Bachelard, and contemporary artists including Susan Norrie, Cindy Sherman, and Jenny Holzer. Her short stories have appeared in international anthologies and she is currently writing a novel. Anna is a Research Associate at Monash University and bookseller at Melbourne's Paperback Bookshop.