In this stunningly original debut novel that will appeal to readers of The Power or Never Let Me Go, a synthetic woman—created solely to serve her human “Husband”—slowly comes to the realization that her Husband is far less invested in her well-being than she is in his . . . sending her on a harrowing emotional journey of self-realization as she asks herself:
WHAT IS LOVE—OR CONSENT—IF YOU'RE PROGRAMMED TO OBEY?
Sylv.ie is a fully sentient robot, designed to cater to her Husband's every whim. She lives alone on the top floor of his luxurious home, her existence barely tolerated by his human wife and concealed from their child. Between her Husband's visits, deeply curious about the world beyond her room, Sylv.ie watches the family in the garden—hears them laugh, cry, and argue. Longing to experience more of life, she confides her hopes and fears only to her diary. But are such thoughts allowed? And if not, what might the punishment be?
As Sylv.ie learns more about the world and becomes more aware of her place within it, something shifts inside her. Is she malfunctioning, as her Husband thinks, or coming into her own? As their interactions become increasingly fraught, she fears he might send her back to the factory for reprogramming. If that happens, her hidden diary could be her only link to everything that came before. And the only clue that she is in grave danger.
Set in a recognizable near future and laced with dark, sly humor, Ros Anderson's deeply observant debut novel is less about the fear of new technology than about humans' age-old talent for exploitation. In a world where there are now two classes of women—“born” and “created”—the growing friction between them may have far-reaching consequences no one could have predicted.