Each girl-child is cherished,
every boy-baby expendable,
the old land’s prejudices reversed –
yet is this more fair?
“The girl problem” – created by cultures valuing male heirs so much that girl babies are discarded, leaving a vast imbalance of men to women when that generation wants to marry – is turned on its head in the fictive land of Koyanagar which walled itself off from (probably) India in 2042 to protect its females.
Yet not every girl in this women-dominated society believes that boys should fight on stage to be lifelong husbands, tasked with fathering girls. And not every impoverished boy believes that becoming a housebound husband with extra food is worth the price that their society demands.
Have you experienced “the girl problem” personally?
My book talk: Three days to decide their fates – a privileged young woman and the 5 boys competing to become her husband and provide daughters – in a series of unfair Tests that two of these 17 year olds are determined not to win!
In this walled country of Koyanagar, women are valued, unlike the land which they separated from in 2042, where so many girl babies were discarded that only 1 in 5 boys could find a wife.
Sudasa is 17 now and must choose a husband at her Test, where she finds that her powerful grandmother has ensured that the teen’s only male cousin is competing against 4 uneducated boys for her hand!
Boy number Five doesn’t think the contests are fair either – because he doesn’t want a life of tame luxuries as a house-husband. He’d rather stay with Abba in their poor coastal village and find a way over the deadly Wall to search for his mother who couldn’t get back inside when its gates closed forever a decade ago.
In Sudasa’s poetic voice and Five’s carefully reasoned tones, the three days of Tests in intelligence, skill, and sport grind on.
Can he find a way to escape both marriage and certain death as a wall-guard?
Can she escape her grandmother’s plotting and choose her own future?
Do any of Koyanagar’s other 200 girls turning 17 this year feel trapped too?
Like a funhouse mirror, the 5 to 1 ratio of girls to boys in this fictional future country points out the disappearing girls in cultures today which value male heirs over all else. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)