Welcome to my stop on the The High-Rise Diver blog tour! Huge thanks to Random Things Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: World Editions
Publication Date: 02/03/2021
Length: 288 pages
Genre: Sci-Fi | Dystopian | Translated Fiction
CW: suicide ideation
Riva is a “high-rise diver,” a top athlete with millions of fans, and a perfectly functioning human on all levels. Suddenly she rebels, breaking her contract and refusing to train. Cameras are everywhere in her world, but she doesn’t know her every move is being watched by Hitomi, the psychologist tasked with reining Riva back in. Unquestionably loyal to the system, Hitomi’s own life is at stake: should she fail to deliver, she will be banned to the “peripheries,” the filthy outskirts of society. For readers of The Handmaid’s Tale, The Circle, and Brave New World, this chilling dystopia constructs a world uncomfortably close to our own, in which performance is everything.GoodReads
This was such an interesting concept and take on the dystopian genre, it was so mysterious and gripping as information about this society and this world is slowly fed to you over the course of the novel. You’re not even told who the protagonist is until a couple of chapters in. I really liked this feeling of already being involved in the world, the idea that this is something that has been going on for a while and is no longer out of the norm for the protagonist to feel the need to tell us about it explicitly.
It also did a great job of making us feel as though we were watching what was unfolding in the same way that our protagonist, Hitomi, was with their subject, Riva. A professional high-rise diver, and arguably the best from the academy, who has suddenly just… stopped diving and no one knows why. Which is where Hitomi comes in, a psychologist who has been hired to ensure that Riva starts diving again. However, in this world that von Lucadou has created, this is done in a very different way compared to the reality that we know. The way that this work was simultaneously hands off yet incredibly invasive was so brilliantly done.
In fact, the entire society that von Lucadou has created has this unsettling and uneasy atmosphere that everyone is being watched all the time, even those doing the watching. This society claims to have it’s inhabitants best interests at heart, with mandatory wellbeing checks and exercise goals as part of work contracts, however you quickly call into question who really benefits from this. I loved that the author has taken all of the things that people are encouraged to do to lead a happy and healthy life, but take them to the extreme in this novel and twist them in such a way that makes ‘concern’ feel menacing and it demonstrates how everything can be used against you.
Overall, this is a brilliant dystopian novel which is one I know so many of you would enjoy. The writing and the concept are both very well executed which make the novel incredibly addictive, I was so sad when it was over!
About the Author
Julia von Lucadou was born in Heidelberg in 1982. She studied film and theater at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and Victoria University of Wellington and earned her PhD in Film Studies in 2015. Lucadou worked as both an assistant director and a television editor prior to writing The High-Rise Diver, her debut novel, which was nominated for the Swiss Book Prize in 2018. She lives between Biel, New York, and Cologne.