Modern day housing crisis dystopia: The Transition by Luke Kennard
The Transition is a satirical and probing novel about modern day crises of housing, jobs, and life, and how an escape from your failings might be merely a path to further troubles. Karl and Genevieve are thirty somethings trapped under crippling debt and when the opportunity to go on a new scheme – The Transition – which involves living with an older couple and surrendering elements of freedom in order to learn how to live successfully, they opt in quickly. But what appeared like a quick fix to their issues doesn’t turn out as ideal as the blurb made it out to be.
Whilst comparisons to TV series Black Mirror are inevitable due to the near-future, technological narrative and highlighting of issues in modern society, Kennard’s novel is lighter and less focused on the technological elements. Instead, The Transition provokes thoughts on streamlining society, surrendering control to those – in this case an older generation – who know better, and how the housing crisis and overeducation issues could result in drastic measures. Karl is a blundering main character who is occasionally frustrating, but this really sets him up as one of the ideal candidates for The Transition, someone who does vaguely unethical online copywriting and essay writing and aspires no further, caught in a web of debt. His point of view allows Kennard to lead the reader through the experience of The Transition and weave a dystopian tale with a fairly ambiguous ending that leaves room for thought.
The novel was more enjoyable than expected, with a good balance of social issues and dystopian plot line. Its satirical bent makes it a lighter near future dystopian option, though it still highlights a lot of issues, from the inadequacy of the minimum wage against rising rent cost to the lack of relevant jobs for well-educated graduates. The Transition is a gripping novel that is perfect for fans of dystopian looking for something more recent or fans of Black Mirror who want similar reading material.