The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Review by Phil, Cloverdale Branch, Librarian
In the future a country called Opium has been established between Mexico and the United States. Responsible for the majority of the drug manufacturing in the world, Opium exudes power and commands respect. At the head of this small albeit powerful nation is one man – El Patron – who is so greedy that he seeks even to steal from death. El Patron surrounds himself with his privileged family, including his clone, young Matt. Though Matt is pampered by El Patron, he is reviled by the rest of the family, and thought of merely as an animal. As he ages Matt must contend not only with how others perceive him, but how he perceives himself. Is Matt plagued by the same dark desires as El Patron? And to what extent will either go to fulfill those desires?
Why I picked it up: Award winning title by a multiple award winning author. Interesting premise with many thought provoking issues.
Why I finished it: Richly layered and textured, Farmer has managed to craft a haunting tale about human nature that is hard to put down. I needed to know what would happen to Matt!
I'd recommend it to: This is not a dense read, but the plot is fairly complex and demands some commitment through slower scenes. Overall, a very rewarding read. It will appeal to fans of science fiction, as well as those interested in the human condition.