The latest addition to my website is Manon Steffan Ros‘s Llyfr Glas Nebo (Blue Book of Nebo). This is a Welsh post-apocalyptic novel, translated from the Welsh. Following what looks like a nuclear war and the failure of a local nuclear power station, thirty-six years old Rowenna and her fourteen year old son, Dylan, living in a remote Welsh village, seem to be the only survivors, everyone else having died or moved away. The pair manage to survive, trapping animals and growing their own crops and we follow them, how they change from the pre-apocalypse period and become resourceful and resilient, but also learning, both from books they take from abandoned houses and from their struggle. But is there anyone out there?
The latest addition to my website is Choi Jin-young‘s 해가 지는 곳으로 (To the Warm Horizon). This is the first full-blown pandemic novel I have read since covid but do not let that put you off as it is very good novel, first published in 2017. We follow a major pandemic – people often die within an hour of contracting it – and its effect on a few groups of people. In all cases the people flee Korea and end up in Russia, not entirely sure of where they are going but just going. It soon becomes apparent that the biggest problem is not the pandemic but the behaviour of people, men in particular, as brutal violence, rape and random killings are the norm, even by men who would have behaved responsibly pre-pandemic. Indeed, the only love that seems to work is romantic love, not involving men.
The latest addition to my website is Jim Crace‘s The Pesthouse. I have long held the view that the United States, a country which has passed from barbarism to decadence without passing through the intervening stage of civilisation (the original quote is attributed to numerous people), will, eventually, when resources run out, collapse into a horrific civil war, fuelled by the gun culture that many in the US seem to love. The NRA’s favourite quote is When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. The trouble is that the outlaws, in this scenario, will be better armed and probably better organised and will prevail. End of political message. This book, as you can see, is about the post-apocalyptic United States though, for some reason, guns do not appear, apparently long since gone, as industry has disappeared. I feel that this may be something of a flaw in the book as the bad guys would still manufacture their own guns and bullets but maybe Crace has the sensible European abhorrence of guns and kept them out of his book. A disease called the Grand Contagion has wiped out not only much of the population but all the industry. People are now fleeing to the East coast to try and get a ship to Europe, where things seem to be much better. They have to pass through Ferrytown, which is essentially wiped out at the very beginning of the book when a landslide releases poisonous gases, killing the entire population. The two survivors – Margaret who has been confined to a pesthouse (a small hut) because it is feared that she has the dreaded flux (another disease) and Franklin, waiting outside town for his brother to get food and a ferry passage while he recovers from a knee injury – set out together to get a ship and have the usual adventures – strange sects, roaming bands of thugs, other travellers, often in distress. It is not particularly original but a well-told tale and enjoyable if you like post-apocalyptic novels. If you do, Wikipedia has a list (though not this one) though this list does include this one.
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