This book is so subtle and beautiful that it just flows, each person’s story intertwined into a narrative that spans the 20 years of an apocalyptic world.
Survival is insufficient.
And that’s really what makes this book. It’s realistic. It’s a dystopian world, but one that is fundamentally understandable, without the drama and the extremes of typical survival fiction. Instead, there’s the intensity in the simplicity of a world with only 0.1% of the population, and everything they knew has dissolved into nothing. There is no hyperbole or overly extreme events. But it’s still as intense and exciting as anything else in this kind of genre.
Mandel writes with inter-connectivity at the heart of it all. Despite the lack of the internet, or the phone service, or social media, there’s still a connection that spans people’s lives and survives the apocalypse. A well-thumbed comic, a paperweight, the fleeting memory of an actor. Their lives, all interconnected before, are equally as connected after. Arthur, Clark, Jeevan and Kirsten are intertwined by their memories, their history, and their actions. At first, the abruptness of the jumps is slightly confusing, but soon you understand the narrative and how Mandel writes.
This book is honestly a breath of fresh air, in a genre that has so recently dominated markets. It’s realism and dystopia rolled into one, and the beautiful writing makes a wonderful read. The Guardian calls it ‘dreamily atmospheric’, and it’s a perfect way of describing it.
A heartily 5 stars from me, and I’ll definitely look into her other works.
WHAT I LOVED: the writing style, the interconnected narrative, the beautiful cover
WHAT I DISLIKED: nothing!