Although many publications classified the novel as science fiction, Mandel herself does not believe that the work belongs to that genre, as the novel does not include any instances of fictional technology. Mandel has stated that the issue of labeling her work science fiction (as opposed to literary fiction) has followed her through all her novels. Mandel's early work has been classified as crime fiction, and she has stated she consciously chose to avoid overtones of mystery and crime in this work in order to avoid being "pigeonholed" as a mystery novelist.
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