The Country of the People

The Country of the People

Ágnes Mészöly – Eszter Molnár T.: Az Emberek Országa (The Country of the People* Pagony Publishing House 2019)

We are at 2646, much of the Earth is uninhabited due to the Third War and the climate change. A self-sustaining state, the Kalaallitt Nunaat, has emerged in Greenland as the last refuge for culture. Due to its high population density and scarce resources, the employment and supply of the population (even the length of one’s life) are decided by a central organization, the Kitik AKittuk. The Heim is the most important educational institution in Kalaallitt Nunaat where future leaders of the country are trained. Children are selected at the age of six and those who are suitable are removed from their families to prepare them for service of the country Later, they will also decide what exactly their tasks and work will be..

Nanouk is a boy who has recurring dreams, though no one should dream within the walls of the institute. If he wants to secretly investigate what this might mean, he has to escape. Umia is an exceptional girl who could become one of the school’s future leaders. There is no reason to leave the institution, yet she gets involved in Nanouk’s investigation.

This is a book that will stay with us even after we read it. I couldn’t get it out of my mind for a long time. It has a very precise world construction: everything is explained. The narrators, Nanouk and Umia, take turns interpreting the events for us. The chapters begin with an encyclopedic article that reveals how the country and the school work and in each case they projects something from the given chapter. I think the book is amazing, it deserves a film adaptation as well, but I hope it will also be published in translation so that the whole world can read it.

*my translation