My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Wonder That Was Ours by Alice Hatcher is a deeply moving novel that makes smart use of its narrator—the collective “we” of cockroaches—to explore the legacy of colonization. Hatcher’s collective cockroach narrator is funny and astute, and finds the disturbing and heartbreaking parallels between our species, while pointing out the ways humans might be far worse.
I’m particularly impressed with how Hatcher constructs her narrative, from the interludes between chapters to the way the plot builds momentum through its inevitable climax. The characters are a diverse group of people, but more than their diversity I was struck by their complexity, revealed through their thoughts (the cockroaches with their antennae are perceptive that way) that often contradict their words and actions.
Rich in history, philosophy, and criticism, urgent in pace, timeliness, and character, The Wonder That Was Ours is a must-read debut by a brilliant writer.