Synopsis: Britain, the not-too-distant future.
Idir is sitting the British Citizenship Test.
He wants his family to belong.
Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress.
When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death.
How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice?
“Imagine you just escaped the zombie apocalypse and watched all your friends being eaten alive. Now I’m asking you which fabric softener smells nicer.”
Do you like Black Mirror? Well buckle the fuck up, because this novella is essentially a shortened episode. It’s Black Mirror on speed.
I was riveted from the beginning & read this all in one sitting (it also doesn’t hurt that it’s quite short!)
This is about Idir Jalil, an immigrant from Iran. Idir & his family moved to the UK & the story begins with him preparing to get his British citizenship. To do so, he must answer 25 questions on an exam. That’s all that stands between getting to stay in the UK & being deported. 25 questions.. that’s it. Idir has studied his ass off & is feeling confident. We are inside his head as he enters the exam. He’s jovial & courteous, has a great sense of humor.. I felt emotionally invested in his character straight away. You can’t help but root for him & his future. There is a lot at stake for Idir & his family.
You see, the pressure to pass the citizenship test rests squarely on Idir’s shoulders. It is only for men between the ages of 16 & 45. The odds aren’t great. 1 in 3 fail the test, so the chances of actually passing are relatively low.
Idir is a few questions into the test when something goes terribly wrong, forcing him to make some difficult decisions in the process. This is a protagonist that keeps the storyline moving quickly. I found myself turning the pages frantically to see what happens next.
It’s about choices.. those that we make daily & how they affect us. It’s an examination on racism, sexism, immigration, technology & survival.
I don’t want to say too much. This is a book full of surprises & it’s best if you go in knowing as little as possible. Seriously.. these 104 pages are BONKERS!
The Test is a gut-churningly emotional, brutally intense, twisty turny read. I was reeling after. Goddamn.
(Endless gratitude to Tor.com Publishing for sending me a copy!)
**The quotes above were taken from an ARC & are subject to change upon publication**