Our monthly book club met last night and I finished this book on my lunch break because I enjoy procrastination. I don’t think I’ve ever cut it that close, but it wasn’t for lack of enjoyment as much as it’s because I’ve been watching too much TV lately. But I finished and then I vowed to cut back on TV this summer. More reading on the front porch to come!
A quick aside: this author’s name is Emily St. John Mandel? I don’t think I’ve ever seen St. in a name before — is that a thing??
Anyway. The basic premise of this book is that 99% of the population has been wiped about by the Georgia Flu and all that’s left are small communities of people that weren’t infected and are now surviving in a world that has devolved to a very primitive state. The main character (or is she??) is a girl named Kirsten, who’s part of a traveling symphony that performs music and Shakespeare for the surviving communities. There’s also a dangerous prophet in their midst. And all the characters are connected by a character who (SPOILER) dies in the opening pages.
I’ll be honest, I hit 70% on this book and was worried because it didn’t seem we were near a climax, let alone any sort of conclusion, but things actually wrapped up pretty well and I ended up really enjoying this one. Actually, I kind of wanted more of it! Post-pandemic novels are so interesting because the author can take the plot in SO MANY directions and there are SO MANY things to consider but I thought Mandel did a fairly good job keeping it both focused and thought-provoking.
There were characters I wish had gotten more attention, but for the most part, everyone was well developed and realistically portrayed. I’m always so blown away by the discussion at book club and last night’s meeting was no exception. We talked a lot about human nature and the way different aspects of it were depicted by the characters. Breaking News: human nature isn’t always pretty. Another huge topic of conversation was what it would be like living without all the luxuries we’ve come to expect in life. A world without iPhones?? Noooooo!
I could keep going because there was just so many layers to this book, but I’ll just let those thoughts roll around in my own head and let you read it for yourself 🙂
What are you reading right now?
Do you like post-apocalyptic/sci-fi lit?
Could you survive in a world without technology?