Molly Cutpurse

return to main pageMolly_Cutpurse-Author.html


ISBN 978-1-4457-0689-4

Published: March 2010

Print Length:348 pages

Language: English

A story of retribution and redemption set in an intelligent, dystopian capitalist society obsessively consumed with consumer voting and finance.

Livina is an orphan, who has been trained from birth in, Brook, a state-run, military-style training camp, to become an executioner working at High Tower Transmissions, a privately owned UK prison which is owned by the multinational company, Mergam whose profitable influence extends to the upper echelons of parliament.

Mergam makes its money by allowing visual transmissions of its authorized punishments by terrestrial transmission and the Internet. Through a twenty-four hour, pay-as-you-watch scheme, the worldwide audience can attempt to amend the decisions of the courts. Often, the fate of reviled prisoners can be altered by how many votes have been cast. The amount of votes can dictate the punishment, which are varied.

Livina however, has an inherent kindness about her, almost a spirituality, even though she consistently remains true to her military-style upbringing, wholeheartedly convinced that her actions are helping society to become a better place. Therefore, occasionally she brings about a swift ending on those upon whom she is charged to carry out the ultimate punishment.

However, she is friendless, suffers from a type of borderline Aspergers condition, has an obsessive-compulsive character, and is to a greater extent, unemotional and distant because of her high position.

Nevertheless, she befriends a childhood friend by the name of Winter, who has fallen on hard times, and entered the system himself on minor charges. Against the rules, Livina falls deeply in love, and becomes pregnant.

eBook or paperback, you can trust;

A review

Executrix by Molly Cutpurse

I enjoyed it immensely. Molly is obviously a writer of imagination. The book is dark, witty, and engrossing. It’s difficult to compare the book to any other – perhaps “Clockwork Orange” is the nearest, but I can hear echoes of Kafka’s “The Penal Colony” in the relentlessness of fate in the narrative, and the intensity of the central character recalls humorous works such as “Augustus Carp By Himself”. Livina’s self-knowledge and self-absorption are total, she is totally moral in her own way.

I am wondering whether to comment on some of the things which leap out at me. I mean apparent errors. I am in two minds about whether these are deliberate. Livina makes a point of mentioning her education, and is written as a very punctilious person, and it could be that these slips are part of her personality. I imagine her to be very precisely spoken, as though she had been to a voice coach, and that the slips are a result of her being detached from “normal” life, and an essential part of her character.

Imagine a Britain a decade or so into the future, which has become so reactionary in its attitude to crime and punishment that not only has corporal and capital punishment been reintroduced, but it has become a public spectacle via mass media. This is the Britain of Livina, the country’s most admired dispenser of punishment. This is the Britain of “Executrix”.

Molly Cutpurse, the author, presents this novel thus: “Horror story? Love story? You decide”. In fact it is a dark story which hints at humour but keeps it tantalizingly out of reach. There are descriptions which will make you squirm, and the writer doesn’t flinch from the horror. They are delivered in Livina’s dispassionate voice. Likewise the descriptions which play with your emotions are delivered with a kind of flatness. It is as though something has been seared in Livina’s character. The love story within this book is given comparatively little space, and it is not so much her lover which engages what is left of her compassion, but the issue of their love.

Livina’s narrative is intense, relentless, and self-absorbed. She seems to me to have a borderline Aspergers condition, an obsessive-compulsive character. I love the way she makes her story into episodes, deciding how and when to give us details. This is so much more than a story, it is an apologia, an inner narrative, and this shows a mature imagination at work in the creation of the novel the like of which I haven’t seen since “A Clockwork Orange”.