On the English countryside, in a time that seems timeless, in a place that seems like a boarding school for the gifted, things are quaint—almost sickeningly so. In fact, life seems slow and boring for a while, when the highest drama is dancing to music and the mere mention of smoking a cigarette. But things, of course, are not as they seem. Kathy H. recounts her childhood (and that of her two best friends, Ruth and Tommy), at Hailsham in such a matter-of- fact way that the true magnitude of scenario only creeps in like a thin fog, or a toxic smoke. Nothing in this story seems out of place—even the rhythmic mention of the “donors” and the “normals.” This is bigger than a metaphor, bigger than the suggestion that humans are playing with life. It makes clear how much and how often we mimic one another—how much we learn from models—and how little we question the cycle. It’s not creepy the way watching a well-executed scary movie is—it’s more like reading a book written eons ago, and realizing it’s perfectly spelled out your own life. And all at once, the room goes cold.