Read An Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen Online


Some time in the near future, university lecturer Caspar receives a gift from a former student called Liv: a memory stick containing a virtual narrative. Hooked up to a virtual reality bodysuit, he becomes immersed in the experience of their past sexual relationship. But this time it is her experience. What was for him an erotic interlude, resonant with the thrill of seducSome time in the near future, university lecturer Caspar receives a gift from a former student called Liv: a memory stick containing a virtual narrative. Hooked up to a virtual reality bodysuit, he becomes immersed in the experience of their past sexual relationship. But this time it is her experience. What was for him an erotic interlude, resonant with the thrill of seduction, was very different for her - and when he has lived it, he will understand how.Later…A convicted paedophile recruited to Liv’s experiment in collective consciousness discovers a way to escape from his own desolation.A synthetic boy, designed by Liv’s team to ‘love’ men who desire adolescents, begins to question the terms of his existence.L, in transition to a state beyond gender, befriends Liv, in transition to a state beyond age.Liv herself has finally transcended the corporeal - but there is still the problem of love.An Uncertain Grace is a novel in five parts by one of Australia’s most inventive and provocative writers. Moving, thoughtful, sometimes playful, it is about who we are - our best and worst selves, our innermost selves - and who we might become....

Title : An Uncertain Grace
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781925355987
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 238 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

An Uncertain Grace Reviews

  • Text Publishing
    2019-05-02 22:41

    ‘Krissy Kneen’s An Uncertain Grace shows a writer taking transformative bounds in the story she tells—interlinked iterations of the future woven with science and poetry of desire, sentience and, sometimes, jellyfish—and the beauty of its words.’Ashley Hay, Australian, Books of the Year 2017‘It’s a rare book that seems to drift like smoke away from the printed page to rewrite the physical world…[Kneen] wants us to strip naked and be transformed.’Melbourne Review of Books‘Haunting and wonderful.’My Cup and Chaucer‘Innovative and provocative…a virtual reality suit, sex, life, and the technological postponement of death.’Australian‘An Uncertain Grace is a highly provocative read that masterfully offers thoughtful speculation on the future of technology, memory and sexuality.’Books+Publishing‘Kneen’s descriptive prose is gorgeous; her stories are clever and interesting: her speculation on the future state is, despite the jellyfish, not the least bit whacky, but instead, quite credible…creative, a bit provocative and definitely thought-provoking.’BookMooch‘Folding sensitive threads of erotica into mind-bending speculative fiction, Krissy Kneen’s latest novel is an ambitious genre hybrid that addresses both morality and mortality from unique vantage points…She proceeds with sensitivity, sincerity and, most of all, curiosity…With its page-turning clarity, her writing is as compassionate and empowering as it is edgy and provocative. In the end, her characters are striving for the same things that any of us are.’Australian‘Such fantastical feats of Kneen’s fertile imagination are not only bedded in a convincing future reality of extreme weather and drastically diminished species but blessed with engagingly lively and varied characters. Their circumstances, typified by the unusual fluidity of the personal pronouns, are often deeply and inventively strange, yet utterly convincing.’SA Weekend‘Krissy Kneen is a writer you may not hear mentioned constantly, but she’s one of Australia’s most gifted storytellers. Unflinchingly willing to explore the darker hearts and desires, she’s an often confronting Australian erotica writer with a knack for bypassing the standard titillating fare to get to the heart of human wanting…A reasoned, emotive, and highly compelling exploration of what it means to be human, and the humanity of love, desire, and sex.’Hush Hush Biz‘Krissy Kneen’s latest novel, An Uncertain Grace, blew me away. Kneen’s prose is luminescent, and in this book I felt like I was learning so much. This book has elements of speculative fiction and erotica to it. Even though these are two genres in fiction that are generally seen as being acquired tastes, I think this is a book that everybody should read. It is tender, exciting and wildly imaginative.’The Best Books We’ve Read This Year (So Far) 2017, Readings‘A layered and complex and beautifully written novel that never flinches from the difficult topics it tackles.’Hysterical Hamster‘An Uncertain Grace is a strange, daring and clever novel and Kneen’s openness to connections that many other novelists never dream of making is exhilarating.’Sydney Review of Books

  • Marianne
    2019-05-17 03:52

    4.5 ★s“Time. Something odd has happened to it. It has taken on physical form. Time rubs up against me like an invisible film, like Glad Wrap but the whole roll of it goes on and on forever. There is so much plastic wrap stretching out behind me, and in front of me, an age of it. I feel like I am trapped under an invisible film, staring out, perfectly preserved”An Uncertain Grace is the sixth book by Australian poet, television director and author, Krissy Kneen. It consists of five separate short stories, each of which is narrated by a different person; all are loosely linked by certain themes and by the last narrator, who has a role in the first four stories. This is erotic fiction, and sex is a prominent feature of each story, so readers should be prepared for explicit descriptions. Advances in technology, medicine and surgery, as well as a flooded state capital, anchor the stories firmly in some future time. Kneen’s tales are original and very imaginative: a (lecherous) university lecturer whose former student (and lover) sends him a memoir with a difference, one from which he experiences their relationship from her perspective; a sex offender undergoing experimental treatment to change the nature of his desires; an android boy created solely to study paedophile tendencies; a young woman in the process of transforming into an ungendered state; and an old woman whose consciousness is electronically captured when her body finally fails, exploring a new relationship.Kneen’s descriptive prose is gorgeous; her stories are clever and interesting; her speculation on the future state is, despite the jellyfish, not the least bit whacky, but instead, quite credible. Kneen’s latest oeuvre is creative, a bit provocative and definitely thought-provoking.

  • Stephanie
    2019-04-28 03:08

    Rating: 4.5 Full review also on my blog HereThank you to Netgalley for allowing me the chance to read this.This story has 5 parts, all connected. In the first part I was very uncomfortable (TW: Rape), in the second I was just confused but then as I read parts 3-5 the story and points to it became clearer. This is a story that I am still processing and thinking about. It's very thought-provoking. It takes on gender, sexuality, body image, sex, aging, and a future with how technology might alter our relationships with ourselves.The content of this book is sometimes uncomfortable, but for a good reason. It forces us readers to take a look at ourselves, to ask questions we probably don't want to but need to. It makes you think, confront your own demons, biases, feelings, and how you approach and deal with these subjects.The severity of sexual crimes are not treated in a light-hearted away or condoned in any way. This novel manages to open your mind to difficult areas of discourse, think about futuristic ideas and promoting compassion for people different from ourselves.It started off slow and confusing for me, but slowly my mind was opened and I began to really think on all the topics and discussions explored within. While I highly recommend this book, I also recommend taking it slow and taking the time to process it all. I think i'm going to need a re-read of this sometime in the future.

  • Michael Livingston
    2019-05-11 22:02

    This is a thought-provoking look at how technology might alter our relationships with our bodies. The five linked stories in this book follow Liv, a pioneer of a kind of immersive, embodied storytelling that evolves over the course of the book into something much more. Kneen is fascinated by the body and by sex, and she explores all the ways that the self and the body are connected and how they might be disconnected. It's fascinating, smart and beautifully written.

  • Ana
    2019-05-07 21:58's been quite a while since I so thoroughly enjoyed a collection of short stories. Considering they are classified as erotic, the detail put to speculative fiction was outstanding. These make the reader completely reconsider sexuality as a whole while taking him on her on enthralling experiences. They are all connected by a common denominator and are chronologically order, taking the reader on a trip where we see the world changing, along with the characters.The first story introduces us to a uni English literature teacher who is presented with a work by a former student. This is not just any work though, it's an interactive narrative where the reader not only does what the author wants but also feels exactly what the author wants him or her to feel. I absolutely loved the way the author transcribed this idea to her story and we get to watch a fairly normal guy coming to terms with the fact that he might just be despicable. I have a feeling woman and men will have different reactions to this story. Some of the scenes were so raw and yet I felt emotional. This was quite brilliant.The second story comes from a different place. It is actually a sci-fi experiment.What if you could merge with other beings? The way the concept was introduced was quite astounding. You cannot help to relate to this guy, even though he must have done something really bad to have gone to prison for that long. Still, his childhood memories as well as his longing for them make him a person, and one with feelings, and you cannot help to relate.The third story is about a robot who looks and feels human and was created for a unique purpose - to study hebephiles, people who are attracted to adolescents. Some scenes are difficult to take in as they are quite disturbing - even though you are seeing things through the eyes of Cameron, the robot. You can feel his own struggle to try and understand how a normal 13-year-old would react, so that the data collected during the experiments is as accurate as possible. And yet he cannot help but think of his place in the grand scheme of things.The fourth story is less about sex and more about gender. It's getting easier and easier to transition between both sexes, and even staying somewhere in the middle. These are the sexual experiences of one such person who wants to transition to centre - neither man or woman -, while trying to deal with her feelings towards her sexuality, her partner, and her mother.The final story is about a woman who lived well into her one hundreds and still remembers a time when fish weren't practically extinct. This one explores life after that and what you could experience in such a state.Reading what I wrote above, I cannot help but feel my descriptions of the stories are very diminishing. The fact is I felt enraptured by them. At times disgusted, others excited and always curious to know what came next. I am not too sure about the Liv character, it did not struck me as believable that she is described as a teller of stories and yet we see her in scientific roles. But I do know I enjoyed this immensely and highly recommend it.Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  • Cass Moriarty
    2019-04-28 20:06

    An Uncertain Grace (Text Publishing 2017) is the latest novel by Brisbane author Krissy Kneen, and as befitting a work by this most adventurous, intelligent and playful writer, the book was nothing I expected, everything I feared and all I dreamt it would be. Krissy is not afraid to look into the abyss, whatever that personal abyss may be for each of us; she is unafraid of peeling back the thin veneer of respectability and prudence, to poke at our sore bits and titillate our sensitive bits. The content of An Uncertain Grace is at times uncomfortable and coarse, it opens up the discussion about areas of sexual diversity that are traditionally no-go zones - but in a good way, because the author is so open, accountable and exploratory in her investigations of sex that we, as readers, are forced to confront our own demons, fears, discriminatory feelings or biases, and to think - really THINK - about how we approach these subjects, how we deal with them, how they sit with us and within our relationships. And while I had expected that confrontation, what I wasn't prepared for was the quiet beauty of this novel, the gentle and tender romance floating throughout its pages, the thought-provoking and compassionate discourse that imbues every chapter with meaning and daring, and that encourages the reader to engage with the subject matter on an emotional as well as an intellectual level. The novel is in five parts, with each part connected by the character of Liv, who begins as a young, vulnerable university student and by the end of the book is 129 years old. At different points in her life, she connects with the other four characters and in this way we engage with the totality of her existence. If you are familiar with Krissy's work, you will know that sex in all its forms is an area of great interest to her; this book is no exception, in fact it is a perfect example of just how far Krissy's mind can stretch to incorporate scientific advances and to embrace sexual difference. Some of the ideas explored are shocking; Krissy attacks taboos head-on, dragging them out into the light and demanding that we confront them and attempt to understand them, thereby reducing their power. In the first section we meet Caspar, the older lecturer to whom Liv loses her virginity. In a world of scientific advances, Liv is able to gift him a virtual reality skin suit - when he slips inside it and connects, he is able to relive every experience they had together - both sexual and otherwise - but from her point of view. His understanding of both what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be 'taken' sexually (in more ways than one) is significantly expanded through this process. The acts of rape and sexual assault and the themes of power and manipulation are explored. In the second section we meet Ronnie, a man imprisoned because of his sexual crimes against children. This is a step up from the previous chapter: here, Liv is working with Ronnie through a pioneering program involving group consciousness and sexual engagement with jellyfish - sounds absurd and yet in Krissy's skilful hands, this sci-fi topic is treated with care, raising a host of fascinating questions around this normally taboo subject. The third section is perhaps the most confronting; certainly I found it the most uncomfortable. Cameron is a robot made to look like an adolescent boy. Under Liv's care, Cameron is used to study illicit desire by catering for the sexual appetites of paedophiles, in order to protect real children from these criminals. When Cameron is himself approached by a young girl with her own developing sexual desire, the whole subject is wide open for discussion: who is victim and who perpetrator? What rights do Artificial Intelligence (AI) robots have? How far would we go, scientifically, to sate ourselves, if it meant the degradation of another species, ie AI? The topic sounds brutal and distasteful, and yet the character of Cameron is written so sensitively, so beautifully, he is drawn with such wit and humour and compassion, that we cannot help but love him, and therefore, to try to understand him. And if we can understand him, it stands to reason that we can therefore at least attempt to understand almost anyone, regardless of their actions. Not to excuse them, but to comprehend their behaviour. The fourth section is devoted to M, an ungendered individual, who is living at a time in the future when slipping seamlessly from one gender to another is fluid, frequent and fun. This chapter encourages a lot of discussion about gender roles and expectations, about passion and sexual appetite versus platonic, romantic love and about the sexual needs of our aging population, and the mores and disapproval around that. The last section is all about Liv and the idea that our consciousness may go on living long after our bodies have given up. The science around this on an intellectual level is thought-provoking. This section also introduces a conversation about sex workers and the parameters of what they do, how they do it, and the repercussions. An Uncertain Grace is a book about sex. To put it bluntly, there are a lot of people (or entities) in this book thinking about sex, having sex, or dreaming of sex. But that is not what it is all about, not by far. This is also a romantic book, a story about love and desire and passion and commitment and memory. It is a book about scientific advancements, and about what they might mean for the human race. It is an intellectual book that encourages us to consider our discriminations and our taboos and our phobias and our prudish tendencies. It is a poetic book that introduces each character in a sweeping and elegant way, imbuing each with a certain grace. It is testament to Krissy's talent that despite any initial misgivings about how I would react to the themes of this book, and to the characters it presents, I found myself brimming with compassion and empathy for all of them, no matter their behaviour or circumstances. I found myself a little more understanding, a little more accepting, a little more open to confronting ideas. Despite the provocativeness of this novel, Krissy does not condone any specific behaviours, she does not lessen the severity of sexual crimes or treat any serious matter in a light-hearted way, but still she manages to open our minds to difficult and confronting areas of discourse, to encourage discussion of futuristic ideas, and always, always, to promote compassion for those different from ourselves.

  • Kate
    2019-05-04 02:00

    This book is bananas.I didn’t ‘like’ it but it’s hard not to be impressed by something that is so incredibly creative and thought-provoking.But before I go on, it should be noted that Krissy Kneen’s An Uncertain Grace comes with a big bunch of trigger warnings (rape, sex crimes against children, treatment of paedophiles).An Uncertain Grace is a novel in five parts, each story linked by a single character, Liv, at different stages of her life. Over decades, Liv develops ‘virtual narrative’ technology, which I understand from the story to be a combination of a virtual reality experience and re-writing the sensory and cognitive experience a person has had. Each part of the story reveals more about the technology, beginning with Liv sending her university lecturer (and ex-lover) a memory stick and a virtual reality bodysuit so that he can re-experience their relationship from her perspective.How do you record a sensation of fear? Is it the heart rate communicated through the tiny receptors in the rubber?…How is this story ‘written’? And what part of it is authored? What percentage comes from the reader?In the next part of the story, a convicted paedophile is recruited to test the concept of ‘collective consciousness’ and in doing so, find release from his own desolation (does he deserve ‘release’? These are the kinds of questions this book throws at you from every angle).Next comes the story of Cameron, a synthetic boy designed to test the effects of sexual contact with minors on child-sex offenders.‘Take your shirt off,’ he says and I won’t. I just won’t. Sometimes I do what they what they ask me to, and I do like the feel of the computer light on my chest, but they have made me unruly by nature. I resist direction. It is because I represent thirteen, full of Hormonal Anarchy.Cameron, who begins to question his existence, knows that he has a job to do – I am here to protect the real children from this kind of contact. This is my primary function but of course it is still a pleasure. This thing which is bad for them is good for me.Kneen examines the meaning of gender and the relevance of age in the final parts of the book, and again, offers a different world to what we know –‘…when I was a kid there were trans people. Transgender. But there wasn’t a centre place. No concept of a twilight. No ungendered box to tick on your passport.’There’s certainly enough in An Uncertain Grace to suggest a future world – massive climate change, the technology to sync human minds with those of animals, no more mobile phones (you ‘think’ your text messages) and a place where robots can’t be distinguished from humans.Oxlade Drive is a fast-flowing bend in the river. There certainly isn’t any driving to be done there. But the proud heads and shoulders of a few high-rise apartment blocks still muscle up out of the rushing water to prove that there was once a street below the surface of the river.But there’s enough in this story that is familiar and real and true to right now and that’s why it’s so frightening. I guess the best dystopian stories work by amplifying the things we fear or don’t understand and putting them in a future world. Kneen’s focus on sex crimes and paedophiles and how they might be treated is both fascinating and chilling.This book is challenging. I think if you enjoyed Ellen van Neerven’s weird short story, Pearl, or wanted to extend your futuristic reading along lines started by Atwood and continued with books such as The Power and The Natural Way of Things, then An Uncertain Grace would be right up your alley.4/5 Just to be clear, I didn’t ‘enjoy’ this book but I greatly admire Kneen’s writing and originality.

  • Judith
    2019-05-19 04:01

    This is an utterly exquisite book, a meditation in five voices on sex and power, love, sexuality and gender, technology, ageing and memory and loss, the act of narration itself, and jellyfish. And that last is not a toss-away line; underlying the steady progress of the narrative into our human future where all kinds of so-far almost unimaginable human connections are now possible, are glimpses of a world almost completely denuded of sea life, of nature itself. While each chapter can be more or less read as stand-alone novellas, the book actually works as a beautiful whole, woven together by the voice and presence of Liv, whose story begins as a university student and ends... well, no spoilers.I just loved this book so much. Krissy Kneen's deep empathy and compassion for humanity is what attracted me to her work in the first place, and she just keeps getting better and better, revealing aspects of the human experience few contemporary literary writers, in my experience, are willing to take on.

  • Chris Waterford
    2019-05-01 23:08

    Ever since I read this author's amazing memoir "Affection" (5 stars) and her novel "Triptych" (5 stars), I have been a fan of her writing. This book is about imagining where sexual experiences could go in the future. This book consists of 5 different stories pushing the sexual boundaries. I loved the 3rd story (Cameron) and the last (Liv) but didn't care much for the 2nd and 4th. Her work is explicitly sexual and I can enjoy that when she writes as well as she does.

  • Jessica Gregory
    2019-05-10 21:46

    An undeniably challenging and provocative book but unfortunately so overwritten that it smothers some really interesting narratives. Each character is given an unrelenting depth of interiority that grants them a metaphor for every aspect of every minute interaction of their life. In this way, Kneen’s characters feel almost like rehashings of each other.

  • Bronwyn Haines
    2019-05-19 00:40

    An Uncertain Grace is a fresh, smart and wholly compassionate illustration of humans as sexual beings. Kneen uses science fiction to explore the endless variations of sexual expression. She shows the reader how to see all forms of sexual attraction, including pedophilia, with an open and accepting mind, while still strongly objecting to sexual harm. As others have said, this book is about sex, but it isn't really. It's about humans and how we see each other and what is the same in all of us.

  • Laurie
    2019-05-11 22:01

    After the first part of this book I wasn't really quite sure what I was getting into. It gradually unfolded into beautifully written exploration of sensations, gender, sexuality bit futuristic kinda sci fi like as well. It isn't like anything I have ever read before and I really enjoyed.

  • Jaclyn Crupi
    2019-05-13 04:02

    Kneen mentions Lidia Yuknavitch early on and her influence on this novel is clear - parts of it reminded me of The Small Backs of Children. This is a provocative read and at times quite challenging. Kneen is an inventive writer and her work always takes me to unexpected and disturbing places.

  • Theresa
    2019-05-22 20:47

    An Uncertain Grace is a novel made up of five stories, told from the perspective of characters whose lives intersect with Liv. Liv, it seems, is a writer who uses new tech to construct and convey narrative. The five stories are quite disparate, but have in common an exploration of embodiment. In the first, Caspar experiences his relationship with Liv through her eyes and her body, via a VR skin suit. He experiences not just her physical body but her thoughts and emotions, too, and struggles to re-embody himself when the suit isn't on. The stories go on from there, in the unusual but thoughtful way that Kneen has with stories. The writing is quite beautiful and evocative, and the future that the stories inhabit is very thought-provoking. What will it mean when technology becomes so easily incorporated into our selves that we can pay for things with a flick of the wrist, or can upload our minds to outlive our flesh? What is the self, even?

  • Castille
    2019-05-20 02:44

    What a shame that this book has so few reviews, but how grateful I am to have discovered this little gem! As a fan of relationship-based science fiction, this novel is right in line with my particular set of interests. Kneen's exploration of the evolution of sexuality as it is affected by future technologies is fantastic in that it feels so realistic and visceral, yet she never crosses the boundary into gratuitous sex or pornography. My favorite of the stories was the first, Caspar, as I found the concept of the intermingling of VR technology and life writing/memoir to be fascinating and something I have never read/seen in SF. It's the type of scenario which is ripe for an episode of Black Mirror, so I'm surprised it hasn't been used more. I also enjoyed Kneen's metafictional approach throughout the novel (and especially in Caspar's story), occasionally reflecting on writing and each of the stories being constructs-- e.g. Caspar's own pondering of his life story, "If I could tell this story in third person, past tense, I would foreshadow the delicious transgression of our sexual relationship", and later "How is this story 'written'? And what part of it is authored? What percentage comes from the reader?". I also love that Liv is woven throughout, herself a biographer/biological engineer, analyzing and writing the life stories of AI bots like Cameron, with the final story in the novel being told in her post-mortem POV. I could go on and on analyzing the experimental storytelling employed by Kneen, but alas, I'll end my review. An Uncertain Grace is a great little book that takes risks and explores interesting themes, which I would highly recommend to fans of relationship-based, soft SF, or fans of feminist literature.

  • Wendy
    2019-05-21 00:03

    Full review will be posted on my blog on August 22nd: https://nextbookaroundthecorner.wordp...It is not very often that I am intrigued by a synopsis and then lose my interest throughout the book. Unfortunately, An Uncertain Grace, is one of them. The idea really is very interesting, but the realisation is just terrible in my opinion. As a look into the other reviews it seems you find this book a totally awesome book, or you despise it like me.The first story was still a bit interesting. We meet an older professor, who has the habit of picking up young students. With a special suit from a former student Liv, who he also had a relation with, he can experience the relationship through her eyes. And then you can see what a different point of view they had in their relationship.The tone, in which the story is told, however is rough and unfocused. It's a bit of word vomit being thrown out there. There are all kinds of thoughts jumbling over each other in different phrases and from different perspectives (him and her). So it is very confusing to read.The second story was even worse, where we are meeting a convicted guy, who is engaging in some kind of experiment (conducted by the same Liv). Here, he becomes part of a jellyfish population (in his mind)?! Well, that was my cue, that this was definitely not a book for me.So, I'm sorry, but only 2 stars from me. And they are mostly for the idea of the stories, not the actual writing. With a thank you to Netgalley for providing the arc in exchange of an honest review.

  • Lisa Kenway
    2019-05-13 02:01

    I was seduced initially by the sumptuous cover, and then drawn in by the extraordinary writing in this erotic, literary dystopian novella. Structured in five parts, with five point-of-view characters, it reads as distinct stories, linked by the presence of one central character, Liv, and the interwoven themes of sexuality, aging, autonomy, and our impact on the natural world.Kneen writes with humour and a deft hand to create this intelligent, sexy story. Liv is a writer of fiction in a futuristic world, creating an intimate virtual reality so realistic that the 'reader' can feel what the protagonist feels, see the world from another's perspective. As Kneen demonstrates in An Uncertain Grace, this is also what the skilled author achieves with a story such as this: one which places you into the mind of someone whose life is different from your own and allows you to experience the existence of another, to feel empathy even for those we abhor.Rather like a good degustation menu, this story challenges and delights in equal measure with each of its distinctly different parts to create a satisfying whole.

  • Kristin
    2019-04-25 02:41

    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.The first story was unexpectedly different and engaging. It opens with a professor who has a habit of picking up the female students in his class. As he is eyeing a new girl to add to his harem, he receives a package from a former student with whom he had an ongoing relationship many years prior. She's sent him something that she's developed and wants his opinion. What he gets is a suit that he can put on and experience their entire relationship, but this time through her eyes. He is so submerged in the experience that he feels as if he is actually her. To see himself through her eyes proves to be jarring and disturbing. It was really dark, but a really compelling idea.After that, it fell apart for me. The second story follows a pedophile who has volunteered for an experiment. Whatever Kneen was going for here, it didn't resonate with me. And then we move into the boy robots who have been built for men who like young boys and she REALLY lost me.Just not my sort of book. Simple as that.

  • Ian Mond
    2019-05-14 20:44

    Krissy Kneen's An Uncertain Grace is a marvelous book, the sort of marvelous book that deserves the type of in-depth analysis that I don't have time to provide. It's a toss-up between this novel and Jane Rawson's From The Wreck as to which is my favourite book (so far) for the year. While I might struggle to pick between the two, what I do know is that Australian women are currently producing some top-flight science fiction.The novel is a story-suite (quickly becoming my preferred form of narrative structure) with five novella sized pieces linked together by Liv, a woman with an interest in the limits of identity, sexuality, consciousness and sentience. When we first meet Liv we do so, literally, through the eyes of Caspar, a university lecturer who gets a thrill from seducing his female students. One day he receives a memory stick from Liv - a previous conquest - that, when hooked up with a virtual reality suit, allows Caspar to experience his seduction of Liv from her perspective. Caspar's erotic memories of the short relationship, especially the joys of the chase, are tainted by Liv's repulsion as she is drawn... coerced into fucking this obese older man – who happens to be him. For those of us who've read plenty of science fiction - or watched episodes of Black Mirror - there's a familiarity to the shape of the plot, in the set-up and resolution. But that's not the point. What becomes evident throughout the whole novel is how Kneen uses language to elicit a mix of repugnance and eroticism. Caspar can't look away, even when he stops watching he inevitably goes back for more.This push and pull - repulsion and attraction - is evident in the next story told from the perspective of a pedophile and Liv's experiments with consciousness to possibly alleviate this man from his base desires. And it's there in the following piece - my favourite in the book - about a synthetic boy, Cameron, designed by a team headed by Liv, to love men who love boys – to provide those men with a "safer" outlet. At one point in that story the boy meets a barely teenage girl in a playground, and in a secluded spot she pressures him to fuck her. As he's fucking her... this fabricated sex toy for pedophiles... Cameron thinks: "Children are to be protected from their sensuality. Children are to be protected from sex. I remember the feel of her soft bottom bouncing up and down in my lap and I feel the blood rushing to my cheeks."It's a brilliant, powerful summation of the affect Kneen is striving for.Sexuality and sexual perversion are not the only themes of the novel. As noted this is a book that's fascinated in identity (especially gender) and sentience and the complexity of the human (and non human) mind. And it's also a book that explores the nature of story-telling, a topic that particularly interests Liv as shown in the memory stick she sent to Caspar and her work with Cameron the synthetic boy and in the reconstruction of her own identity later in the book - though to say more would be a spoiler.The point is that An Uncertain Grace is a layered and complex and beautifully written novel that never flinches from the difficult topics it tackles.

  • Susie Anderson
    2019-04-27 21:45

    I started this open to the concept and everything, it kind of grappled with the emerging technologies in a way that made me feel better about the adverse effects I see happening in real time. I became frustrated about not getting to know Liv and I stopped wanting to pick the book up. I also stopped eventually because the author began to write about a koori character and it just... made me sigh massively so I had to put it away. Ultimately I liked the suggestion hope it had for the tech. But maybe it was a bit too conceptual and obviously... trying to be a book noticed for a certain reason. I also felt like there was too much going on for this to achieve any clarity with its existential commentary. It was lost in everything else that was on the agenda.

  • Mikaela
    2019-04-25 20:59

    * Full review coming to my blog* ~ Initial thoughts after finishing book. ~This was a novel unlike any I have read before, mostly because it isn't in my usual genres.That being said whilst I did find it highly unusual, I quite enjoyed it.The novel isn't broken into chapters, instead it was broken into five sections, each about a completely different character (Casper, Ronnie, Cameron, M, Liv).That being said the novel is really about Liv, considering she is a part of the lives of every character. Though in different ways. So it shows the different stages of Liv's life, and people she knew along the way but from their perspective. Which isn't something I have seen done before. Though I didn't figure out that was what was happening until the Cameron chapter and Liv was an important person once again. The Ronnie chapter was the strangest, and probably had the most confusing ending, although the ending of the Cameron chapter was also quite ambiguous. The M chapter, was interesting as it dealt with gender neutrality, becoming physically neutral between both genders. Which is something I could see being a thing in the future.Overall this was quite an interesting albeit very odd book, that dealt with the future of narrative, artificial intelligence and the role technology and science will play in the future in behavioural analysis.

  • Wendyjune
    2019-05-12 20:48

    Strange. Love the way that Kneen tells this story, her format is unusual and I do not think many writers could pull this off. Kneen does this beautifully. Fully engaging the reader the whole time.Threaded through each chapter/person is the main character Liv. The depths of which she goes into intense and taboo issues is brilliant. Kneen brings the human into the machine.

  • Nadine
    2019-05-12 21:52

    #adult One of the cleverer and more interesting books I've read in a while. Marketed as "erotic science fiction" but what it really does is turn a lot of conceptions of mind, literature, sexuality and identity upside down. Well written, thoughtful and thought provoking

  • Lisa
    2019-04-30 22:51

    Krissy Kneen has done it again. Maybe better than she has done it before. I need to think about what I want to say about An Uncertain Grace, but for now I will just say - read it! It's brilliant. You are a magician Krissy.

  • Amelia
    2019-05-12 23:05

    I didn't connect with every story but with the ones I did, they hit hard. The first story in particular, was amazing. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  • Griflet
    2019-04-26 01:38

    4.5 stars - would've been 5 'cause it's a hella ambitious novel that knocks it out of the park more than once but the concluding section left me saying 'yeah nah'.

  • Christine
    2019-04-29 00:02

    The synopsis of this book had me intrigued. It sounded like a fresh idea, and one I might enjoy. I was wrong.The book lets us know immediately that it is written in first person, present tense, as if that weren't obvious, What follows is very confusing and disjointed. I had a terrible time trying to find anything to enjoy. LOTS of vomiting. That never sets well with me. Who wants to read about that?So the story proceeds from being rather harsh and cruel to just plain boring. There just isn't enough to grab onto, and there is nothing to relate to. I will say that having a character view his own actions from a different perspective is an interesting concept, and it is for that reason that I am not giving it only one star. That idea is original and warrants a star. Unfortunately it's the rest of the book that falls way short of being enjoyable or even interesting. There is so much attention to irrelevant detail, I couldn't take it. Who cares??! I hope the author finds an audience for this book that accepts it far better than I did. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  • Alicia
    2019-05-20 23:51

    This book captivated me with its content and style, as Kneen introduced us to her characters, in particular, Liv, the protagonist who reappeared in different times and incarnations throughout the five sections of the novel. In the opening section, we see Liv through the eyes and experiences of her ex-‘lover’ and lecturer, a man who relives their shared past through her virtual reality skin, and only then comes to understand his past and present actions, consent and manipulation. As Liv ages and both her and societies technological advances increase, we are introduced to more characters with their own sexual predilections and proclivities, traditional, acceptable and those that cause immense harm, especially paedophilia. In Kneen’s hands, the investigation of acts between humans, animals and artificial intelligence are explored with sensitivity and intelligence. There are confronting themes and scenes, moments when the reader is forced to question their own conceptions and compassion. This novel looks at consciousness, memory, sexual and platonic love, gender and sexual fluidity, at technological advances and where science may take us. It is a book that challenges and provokes, and, yes, has grace.