In her prize-winning book Delirium, published in Germany by Carlsen, Lauren Oliver combines features from the romantic novel with dystopian elements of the Brave New World kind. Marriages are arranged by the State and the Book of Psst sets down practices for social life, like a Bible.
Lena is a young girl who is full of confidence in the future, her school finals are over and she is looking forward to a relaxed summer with her best friend Hana. But the "cure" that lies ahead of her, and will protect her forever from the perilous affliction of "love", comes tangibly closer; the powers above swear that, after it, people are rejuvenated – and even become better persons. But when she meets Alex, Lena's life starts to go off track, she begins to question the existing order, and feels a yearning for a life without constant surveillance and a love that she can determine herself. But her 18th birthday and the cure draw inexorably nearer ...
Delirium has an open – a surprise – ending, one that makes the reader curious about the books to follow.
The author sketches a simple, clear scenario of oppression and insensitivity, through which she creates a thrilling but alarming story. At the same time there is a basic mood of melancholy, one infiltrated by emotion and hope.
Oliver's page-turner deftly conjures up a recognisably dystopian parallel to our own world, as convincingly terrifying as the North America of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.
The Sunday Times