The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull

In the near future, a ship arrives over the US Virgin Islands, and brings with it a species of alien that has the ability to hold and function in a human shape. This allows them to almost assimilate into the culture of the island. The tension between the Ynaa and the people living on the island develops as they try to define the nature of their relationship. Are they visitors, invaders, friends… or something else?

Exploring the echos of colonialism, gender inequality, and generational communication, this book is a puzzling contrast of every day life and alien invasion. This is not death rays and tentacles, but an exploration into power. Itt holds up a centuries-old slave revolt against the narrative of 2032 against the regular concerns of every day people: the infatuation, the shaky marriage… yet, the control and desires of the ones, the Ynaa and the slave masters, with the power. The setting plays a key role in The Lesson as the appearance of the Ynaa only exacerbate the differences and conflicts on the St Thomas.  Their presence hangs over a history steeped in religion and absentee rule.

Overall, the message may take awhile to set in. There are many dots/ ideas laid out for the reader, and Turnbull leaves it mostly up to reader to connect them.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Edelweiss, Blackstone Publishing, and Cadwell Turnbull for an advanced copy for review.

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