Arc Book Review: The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch


ashley | The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch doesn’t claim to be a retelling of Joan of Arc’s story, but it’s clear in the description that this has influenced and inspired this dystopian tale. Though this is far more than your typical dystopian, futuristic story; the depths, the messaging, the graphic details, I’ve never read anything by Yuknavitch, but I quickly became a fan.  

It’s clear that her writing is strong, but it’s the messaging behind the story that speaks even stronger. Some of the political tendencies teeter on prophetic given our current state, but a lot of the messaging here is dangerously universal. And graphic. This is by no means a light or fun book. There are some painfully graphic details and descriptions that border on gross. Not to mention, some of the ways of the future are just straight up twisted. But Yuknavitch has created something extreme here, which is incredibly unique and intense. 

An ongoing theme that is kind of ever present in this story is the body. This is looked at from so many different angles, the androgynous form the body takes in the future, the skin graft art, the relationship the characters have with their bodies and those of the people around them. This was over sexualized at the same time as being very muted, which was an interesting mix I thought. It was definitely handled in a way I had never seen before.

The overall apocalyptic story kept me intrigued. I thought this was going to drag at first, but I really liked Joan’s backstory and I liked how it all came together in the end. I feel as though I missed certain elements that would have further solidified the story for me and had a bit more trouble following Christine’s story line, but everything seemed to balance out in the end. 

I also thought there were a lot of really creative ideas and approaches to this future. I keep saying that this isn’t like anything I’ve read before, but it isn’t. It was almost like a slap to the face sometimes, but it was refreshing. Yuknavitch definitely knows what she is doing. 

When I read this, I had similar feelings to when I read anything by Ayn Rand. Not to say that these books and writing styles are similar, it was just the feeling I had, the feeling that what I was reading was far bigger than me, that it encapsulated more than just the world in the book, more than just my world, but it reached around and eclipsed everything surrounding me. There was just such an opaque tangibility to the words, they were heavy and dark and weighed me down, but not in a bad way, but in a way that made me stand on edge like this was some kind of warning. Take heed! 


more information
amazongoodreads website Harper Collins

today! april 18, 2017

copy provided for honest review by