In her novel The Love Genes, Eleni Cay presents a thought-provoking exploration of love, relationships, and mental illness in a futuristic society set in 2039 Sweden. Through the eyes of protagonist Katie, the reader is transported to a world that is both familiar and strange, where technology has advanced to the point of ubiquitous phone use, but where societal norms and attitudes towards mental illness are still very much a work in progress.
Cay's writing is vivid and evocative, painting a detailed picture of the setting and the characters. The opening scene, in which Katie takes a train from London to Sweden, sets the stage for the novel and provides insight into the fast-paced, technologically advanced society in which it is set. The reader is immediately drawn into the world of the novel and is able to relate to Katie's struggles as she adjusts to her new life in Sweden.
One of the novel's main themes is the relationship between Katie and her boyfriend Mark, and the couple's struggles with infertility and their desire for a child. Through their conversations and interactions, the reader is able to gain a deep understanding of their characters and the complexities of their relationship. The novel also explores the impact of medical conditions, such as Katie's Multiple Sclerosis, on relationships and the difficulties of managing pain and sleep.
The novel also delves into the darker side of relationships, as Katie starts dating someone called Erik, who turns out to be violent and dangerous. This storyline raises interesting moral questions about the nature of mental illness and the effectiveness of prison as a means of rehabilitation. The novel's exploration of these themes is both nuanced and thought-provoking, and it invites the reader to consider their own attitudes and beliefs about these issues.
Overall, The Love Genes is a thought-provoking and well-written novel that explores complex themes and characters in a futuristic society. It is a novel that will resonate with readers who are interested in exploring the nuances of relationships, mental illness, and societal norms. Highly recommended.
Isabelle Kenyon is a writer of prose and poetry based in Manchester with her two guinea pigs. She is the Managing Director of Fly on the Wall Press and also runs PR and editing services under Kenyon Author Services. She tweets at @kenyon_isabelle