The Upper World – Femi Fadugba
This month’s book is superb and I’m not at all surprised to find that Netflix are making it into a film and that a sequel is being written. It explores physics, (the writer is a physicist), personal choices and time travel and though science fiction is not my usual type of book, I loved this and couldn’t put it down. It’s written from two perspectives in two different timelines. Esso is trying his best to survive in 2020 South London and Rhia, a promising footballer, who lives 15 years into the future, encounters a grown Dr. Esso, when she finds a tutor to help her get the grades she needs to join a football academy.
Though it is a work of science fiction, it is solidly grounded in science, so even if you don’t grasp all of the concepts, like me, the book has unusual credibility. Appendices at the back explain all the concepts explored, if you are more scientifically minded. The London we see in 2020 and the near future 2035 are instantly recognisable. The only thing that marks 2035 as different is a more prominent and oppressive surveillance state. Combined with a believable dialogue, London slang flows with ease, there is a strong sense of place in this book. The realistic setting grounds the more fantastical elements and I think this is why the book worked for me.
Esso and Rhia are characters searching for their identities and their intertwined stories unfold with emotion and suspense. A brilliant book.
Find The Upper World in the Senior Fiction section.