Review - Sulphuric Acid
Sulphuric Acid is a novella written by Amelie Nothomb in 2005 but feels even more terrifyingly real reading it in 2018. This was a totally random pick of mine from the library. I like to pick a random shelf and check out every single book on the shelf, and this was one of the ones that peaked my interest!
In a modern society, a TV show is created called Concentration. Random people are picked and kidnapped right off of the streets and put into a concentration camp to live like the camps back in World War 2. It's streamed live to the world as prisoners are tortured, beaten, starved and killed. They are given pajama like uniforms and also tattooed with their new ID's. The camp is controlled by guards called Kapos. One particular Kapo named Zdeno is particularly ruthless and falls in love with a particular prisoner named Pannonique. She is known as her prisoner ID CKZ 114. Pannonique is headstrong and determined not to let this prison break her as thousands of people watch live.
When ratings start to drop, the network encourages people to vote for who is to be killed next. The prisoners begin to panic and Pannonique must break her silence to stand up for herself and her fellow inmates.
Sulphuric Acid is an incredibly powerful novel, it sits with you long after you finish it. Pannonique is a great character that you watch grow in the most despicable of situations. And even Zdeno, while you hate her, you can respect her growth. But the biggest villain in this novel is of course the general public who sits back and allows this all to happen. They're angered about what's happening on their screens, but they refuse to change the channel.
It's a quick read, 198 pages, and is so hard to put down. Nothomb quickly fleshes out a whole world and society that you fall into. It's definitely heavy reading though that will force you to self reflect whether you want to or not!
Nothomb is a Belgian Francophone writer and was first published at 26 years old. She releases a book every single year, since 1992, and each one is glorious.