The Glimpse By Claire Merle

Title: The Glimpse

Author: Claire Merle

Publisher: Faber and Faber

First Published: 71st June 2012


In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not interfere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe. (From Goodreads, 21st May 2013)


I loved the premise of this novel. It is something that really interests me. What if there was a test for mental illness? What if you were classed as impure because of what was found on a test? Eugenics back in fashion, in which pure’s breed with pure’s and those that are ‘impure’ live their life in fear.

Mental illness has become an epidemic. But has it? Or is it the governments way of controlling people?

I love this idea, because if you know anything about mental health you will know the precarious nature detaining someone and the anguish this can cause for a patient.

This novel focuses on Ana. Ana is the daughter of the scientist in which ‘invented’ the pure test. But Ana’s pure test was not correct. She is a carrier. An agreement was made that if Ana ‘joins’ (marries) a pure then she could stay in the Community until her illness manifest – which it will (apparently!). But when the boy she plans to ‘join’ with is taken away Ana goes on a search for him, outside of the security of the ‘Community’ Ana is thrust into a world she does not know, and begins to see the darker side of life and the government.

This is a book that could be excellent to spark discussions, especially for young people who do not know about the mental health system or the government. It would be excellent to view the parallels and possibilities that we may head in such a direction. Is our focus on genetics and science too much? Are we being manipulated. I love the amount that you could talk about and debate from this book. But included in all this, there is an coming of age story with drama and twists and turns making you feel like Ana and not knowing who to trust.

It is exciting. Fast. Scary.

But I felt slightly disappointed. I don’t know exactly why. Maybe once I have read the squeal, The Fall which is out on the 6th June, this disappointment will lift.It may be the writing style, I am unsure.

But read this book if you want a thought provoking read about mental illness and control.

3.5 out of 5.