Not the Booker: Sweet Fruit, Sour Land by Rebecca Ley review – post-apocalyptic confusion

Political incompetence and male entitlement speak to our times, but it’s not enough to make up for an obscure setting and laboured prose

There’s no faulting the timeliness of Sweet Fruit, Sour Land. It’s set in a Britain destroyed by famine and shortages of material goods. The leader of the country is a woman who churns out meaningless slogans but achieves nothing. The men beneath her – judging by a minister we meet called George – are deceitful, selfish, violent abusers of truth and seducers of women. You don’t need me to draw the parallels.

Rebecca Ley’s novel is given urgency by the mess of Brexit and revelations of #MeToo – but it isn’t a straightforward future projection of our current problems. The prime minister turns out to be some kind of socialist who says she has nationalised power supplies and ...