“Luiza Sauma takes us on a breathtaking voyage through both the farthest reaches of space and the innermost depths of the human soul.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Luiza Sauma’s Everything You Ever Wanted is a dystopian novel inspired in part by ‘Hostile Planet’ an episode of the podcast, Love + Radio. The book tells the story of what might happen if humans had a chance to inhabit another planet, albeit a hostile one where they’re trapped safely indoors the entire time.
The book’s main whose main character, Iris, is unhappy in her life on earth. It’s not a terrible life; she works, goes to the pub with her colleagues, has lunch with her family and chats with her university best friend and current housemate Kiran but there’s always a dark shadow in her mind threatening to cloud over her at any time.
Then, one day Iris hears about a new reality TV programme, Life on Nyx, a chance to start again on a new planet with no social media, no work pressures and no anxieties over your appearance. In short, it’s a dream come true for Iris, a chance to do something ‘worthwhile’. There’s just one catch if you go to the planet Nyx you can’t ever come back. Despite this major downside, Iris applies to be one of 100 people sent to Nyx. Feeling discontented with her current life and the hopeful of a better one in her future, what has she possibly got to lose? In the words of Iris’ sister, Mona we hope it’s ‘everything you ever wanted”.
The novel’s short chapters and frequent paragraph breaks made this a great book to pick up and put down during a busy schedule.
While the fast-paced, well-written, intriguing and unique plot full of colourful and diverse characters made it an incredibly easy and enjoyable read. What’s more, the stunning landscape of pink sands and an indigo lake on planet Nyx and the cool waters of the Girls’ swimming grounds in London are juxtaposed brilliantly against the harsh realities of living so far away from everything you’ve ever known.
Everything You Ever Wanted is a brilliantly gripping exploration of what it means to be human and what it means to be happy and fulfilled in life. Through the lens of Life on Nyx, Sauma also scrutinizes reality TV and the issues surrounding contestants and their mental wellbeing with a subtle nod to Orwell’s 1984 and a modernisation on the idea of ‘Big Brother is always watching you.’
Catherine Muxworthy, Booksbirdblog
Added 30th May 2019