C.J. Samson’s alternative historical novel is a disturbing tale that puts political decisions in perspective and may help us understand how things that at the moment may seem just like power struggles within parties that only touch the fringes of our everyday lives can be in fact of capital importance to define who we are. We are now living through one of these moments and I wonder how future generations will see us from afar.
In this alternative reality, Churchill never became Prime Minister; Britain capitulated to Germany after Dunkirk, and became one of the Third Reich’s puppet states. This is not the scariest thing in the book though. The most disconcerting aspect of the novel is how background characters seem to accept things that most of us now would find morally inconceivable. And still, in spite of our past historical experiences with racism, segregation, and politically institutionalized prejudice, we just need to open the newspaper and turn on the TV to see similar positions and discourses being treated lightly and casually as if they indeed could be considered – perhaps, just perhaps – not so wrong a thing.
Dominion is a masterly written novel that, as Mark Lawson from The Guardian commented, sends ‘shrives down the spine’. Samson not only gives us a picture of a Nazified 1952 Britain; he forces us to look at ourselves as a society in 2016 on the verge of deciding who we are and who we want to be.
Samson, C.J. (2012) Dominion. London: Pan Books.