Spring, you say? Not around these parts. We are still raging with cabin fever, so let’s sneak in another instalment of The Symmetric’s Dystopian Book Club before we get all, ahem, happy again. If you missed the first one, we’re reading contemporary dystopian fiction and pairing it with a stiff drink. Because if ever there was an excuse to get shit-faced, it’s with a book club (or, you know, while reading depressing stories about future societal downfall).
THE BOOK: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Vintage International, 2005) is a subtle but disturbing favourite. It tells the story of three friends who meet at a private school in England, and follows them from childhood through to their ultimate fated ends. The novel unfolds slowly, and I wouldn’t want to give away too many details — we gradually learn that the story is taking place in a dystopian society in the 1990s, and that it involves the breeding of human clones. It’s a heartbreaker.
THE DRINK: I’ve paired it with a spiked punch recipe suitable for sharing with friends. ‘Mother’s ruin’ is the old British slang for ‘gin.’ Here’s the original from Food and Wine.
Mother’s Ruin Punch (makes 8 servings)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup chilled club soda
1 1/2 cups gin
1 1/2 cups fresh grapefruit juice, plus 3 thinly sliced grapefruit wheels, for garnish
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sweet vermouth
2 1/4 cups chilled Champagne or sparkling wine
In a large pitcher, stir sugar with club soda until dissolved. Stir in the gin, grapefruit and lemon juices and sweet vermouth and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Transfer the punch to a large bowl. Gently stir in the Champagne and float the grapefruit wheels on top. Serve in punch glasses over ice.
Just a note: the movie version of Never Let Me Go, with Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley, was actually okay but if ever there was a time to skip the Coles’ Notes and go for the real thing, this is it. I love this book. Have you read it?