L.P. Hartley's Facial Justice depicts a post-nuclear dystopia in which absolute equality is enforced by rule of... well, not law, but supposedly benevolent edicts designed to protect citizens--or in the book's language, "patients and delinquents"--from themselves. In this world, anything that might inspire envy is corrected by the state, even if that means surgically altering a person's physical appearance. Jack and Kate take a deep dive into this novel that is by turns cheeky, macabre, and thought-provoking.
Is it possible to be a good person in an inherently flawed society? How can language shape a culture? Is it worse to be banished to the underworld or forced to play rounds of golf? Why is 1984 standard reading but young people are deprived of the chance to discuss Facial Justice in the classroom? All these questions and more are explored in this month's episode of Bad Books for Bad People.