When She Woke

Nov 29, 2011

Book cover, ''When She Woke''

For writer Hillary Jordan, the lessons of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic, “The Scarlet Letter,” are relevant today. In her new book, “When She Woke” (Algonquin/2011), Jordan imagines that the skin tone of convicted criminals can be genetically altered to fit their misdeeds. Petty crimes are punished with yellow pigmentation, sex crimes with blue and criminals convicted of murder – like the book’s protagonist Hannah Payne – are turned bright red. Hannah, a devoutly religious young woman, is being punished for killing her unborn child. Her incarceration is also broadcast on reality TV.