DAY ONE The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb. News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%.
WEEK TWO Civilization has crumbled.
YEAR TWENTY A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there.
Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe. But now a new danger looms, and he threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.
Another book that has been the talk of the summer but unlike others I wasn’t disappointed by the hype and loved it! I’ve not read anything like this before, no dystopia, no post-apocalyptic or end of world. I don’t really even know why I requested it via Netgalley other than the Twitter hype.
This is a really strange book to describe, I’m not one to pigeon-hole books into specific genres but this one doesn’t seem to fit into any one in particular. Don’t be put off by the post-apocolyptic theme as isn’t so much about the effects of the post-apocalyptic era but more about the characters and the hope they bring in what I felt was a very character led novel, with each of them bringing something different and uniquely appealing.
The book starts with the death of Arthur Leander on stage whilst performing in King Lear and as as the plot moves back and forth between pre and post collapse we see how various characters he affected are connected and intertwine in the New World, whilst clues are woven in that something is coming that will change the world as we know it.
It feels typical in its content relating to the aftermath of the flu, civilisation has changed beyond recognition; no transport, no electricity, no radio or communication and the biggest being no internet! But people manage, people are surviving and living. There is even The Travelling Symphony performing Shakespeare plays in remote and random lawless towns – although I did find it odd that members of the Symphony would refer to others in the group by their instrument type, maybe this is the norm in orchestras.
This is more than just a post-apocalyptic novel, this is about hope and remembering the past (The Museum of Civilisation) but also about moving forward.
Overall, a beautifully written, frighteningly realistic engrossing and absorbing read that will stay with me for a long time to come.
Many thanks to Pan Macmillan to approving me for a copy via Netgalley.
Connect with the author Emily St.John Mandel via