Each day leading up to the April 13 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2013 Genre Fiction Finalist:
Ruth3:5 by Michael Fridgen
Category Sponsor: Marvin Windows & Doors
In an utterly changed Philadelphia of the future, extreme religion has transformed the urban streets into God’s chosen city and programmed its citizen as fervent disciples. That is, except for Ruth3:5, a twelve-year-old girl who dares to pose a simple question that may forever bar her from the seemingly promised land. Ruth3:5, Michael Fridgen’s penetrating, action-packed dystopian thriller, charts the journey of free thinkers in a post-apocalyptic world, where purity of thought can exact the highest possible cost.
Excerpt from Ruth3:5:
“Take that off your head!” yelled Ruth’s mother as she opened the bedroom door and caught Ruth3:5 admiring herself in a mirror wearing a homemade hat. Ruth was proud of the hat she created that afternoon; she turned and looked defiantly at her mother.
“The Inquisitors are always on this street, Ruth,” said Esther as her voice became slightly softer, but still full of intensity. Ruth often thought that when her mother spoke in this manner she could actually feel the force of vibration coming straight from Esther’s mouth and slapping her in the face. Ruth noticed the tense fists and cold face she had come to recognize as her mother. If Esther ever did show emotion on her face, Ruth would think she was ill.
Author Michael Fridgen is the International Program Director at the University of Minnesota in Rochester. Previously, he was a devout Catholic, but left the church when he began to question the actions of its leadership. This questioning led to an intense fascination with religion, which is the topic of his dystopian novel, Ruth3:5. The author has traveled extensively and has witnessed diverse cultures and religions, furthering his curiosity about people and the lengths they will go to adhere to their beliefs. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree from Hamline University in St. Paul. Visit him at http://michaelfridgen.com/
“A dystopian fable in the vein of 1984 or Brave New World, but where Orwell warned about the dangers of a totalitarian state and Huxley wrote of mind control through drugs, Fridgen focuses on the dangers of religious fundamentalism. The novel is a fast-paced adventure with likable main characters, written in an unadorned, competent style. The author handles dialogue and character development well; smartly explores the impact of his world’s version of fundamentalism on the daily lives of women and convincingly connects the rigid belief system to sexism and brutality.” — Kirkus Reviews
“This is a highly creative dystopian fantasy – well-written and well-imagined.” — MN Book Awards Judge
Award winners will be announced at the 25th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Hilton Minneapolis. An author meet-and-greet and book signing reception precedes the awards ceremony, and the Epilogue after-party includes complimentary champagne, desserts, and live music by Reina del Cid and the Cidizens. Tickets on sale now. Click here for more information.
Have you read Ruth3:5? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!