With her debut novel, Patricia Forde crafts a richly imagined future society, the development of which feels all too plausible in today’s climate.
As Wordsmiths, young Letta and her master, Benjamin, are charged with the task of maintaining the List, a collection of 500 words that make up the only language available to the residents of Ark. John Noa formed Ark after the great Melting, when the world was flooded and the land destroyed. This new society was meant to be a safe haven, and Noa their savior, creator of a world free from the ignorance of those who would deny the realities of the harm that humans have caused the planet. But when Letta meets a boy named Marlo and is drawn into his world of beauty and art, she begins to doubt whether Noa’s intentions are as pure as she once thought or, worst of all, if he’s actually been lying to them all along.
This is a story with a message and a purpose, one full of relevance and originality. With this novel, Forde reminds us that words do hold power, both to heal and to destroy, and that because of this we should be mindful of how we employ them. This is a love letter to the ways love and art can lift our spirits and replenish our souls in a world that often seems dark.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read a Behind the Book essay from Patricia Forde on The List.