There is a whooooooooooole lot of stuff going on in The Book of Joan. The book takes place in an unspecified time in the future, where wars and environmental devastation have made Earth virtually uninhabitable. Survivors are on board a spaceship circling the planet, continuing to drain it of whatever resources it can still find. The people on board have become hairless and sexless, essentially creepy sentient blobs. We're introduced to Christine, who tells us in a barely suppressed fury, of the things that have brought humanity to this point. She also tells us about Joan.
Joan is, of course, a futuristic Joan of Arc. It's believed by most that she was burned to death by the forces of Jean de Men, the now-evil leader of the spaceship. However, as it turns out, she's not dead; she's still on Earth. Christine hears that Joan is still alive and begins plotting to get her on board to bring Jean de Men down.
So, dystopia mixed with a saint. Joan here is no saint, but she is unearthly in ways that terrified her family as a child, and in ways she herself doesn't understand until much later.
Great premise. And author Yuknavitch is an excellent writer. But oh, my, there is just so much going on, and the sheer rage from the characters never abates long enough for the reader to catch a breath. There are some weirdnesses; sometimes the book is told from Christine's third-person POV, then from her first-person POV; other times,it's told from Joan's third-person POV, then first person. Not sure why that was necessary. It's distracting.
The meaning of nature and the environment gets a lot of coverage here, sometimes to the point that it slows down the narrative. Then, in the last third, some seriously weird shit begins to happen that left me feeling entirely meh. Your mileage may vary. Lots of people love this book, and I am somewhat tired of dystopia (hell, we're on the verge of living it right now).
I hadn't read anything by Luknavitch before, and while I thought there were many amazing passages of sheerly wonderful writing, overall, the book just left me shaking my head. And wanting to read this about Joan of Arc instead.