An Uncertain Grace is a bold, unique and thought provoking read. Five short stories set in the not too distant future, we first meet a lecturer who is sent a synthetic suit and hardware to live a memoir of a former flame. The reader follows as he experiences their relationship from her point of view. We also meet a synthetic child, a man connecting with jellyfish, a new treatment for gender fluid people and life once our bodies have worn out.
This most certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I loved it and raced through each story. Kneen’s use of a futuristic setting to explore relevant issues around sexual behaviours, the fluidity of gender, ageing and love is brilliant. Prepare to deal with some uncomfortable themes but it is well worth sticking it out. Kneen develops these intense and compelling stories quickly and expertly.
I loved the imagination demonstrated and the writing that takes on difficult perspectives. The characters are memorable and vivid and I’m incredibly glad this was included in the Stella 2018 shortlist. A great and engaging read that I highly recommend and I’m definitely keen to check out more of Kneen’s work in the future. A strong voice that is taking on the challenging stories.