Odd book. The beginning feels like Covid-19 reimagined, bacterial instead of viral. Or rather it’s prophetic, as it was written in 2018. Apocalyptic/dystopian on the surface, it reads more like literary fiction. Commentary on capitalism, consumerism, the life of millennials, hopes and aspirations and the reality of making ends meet, the occasional boredom and banality of everyday life and work.
A long look back at the depressing/monotonous life of the MC. Average millenial with average job, living an average-sounding life of the relatively well-off. Illness strikes, an outbreak at first and then a pandemic. People seem to wind up as harmless zombies, wandering about and repeating tasks of their living past. Society as we know it ends. Our MC eventually leaves New York and joins up with a group of other survivors.
The backstories of the MC and her parents, Chinese immigrants to the US, take centre stage for most of the book. Which made me question if the apocalyptic setting was just a gimmick, to draw more readers. There is an odd amount of narrative about the MCs book production job. This had me wondering even more, what the whole point of this book was supposed to be. The dystopian elements only play a small part.
One of my GR friends described this as a „a slightly disguised New Adult Contemporary coming of age“. It’s a bit deeper than that, but nails it pretty well.
The audiobook narrator sounded pretty bored and laconic for most of the book. Or depressed? Pretty similar to how the MC felt about her life before the apocalypse.
The last few chapters made up for the indifference I mostly felt towards this story. The ending is pretty open, which I usually hate, but it gave a nice sense of purpose and possibility here.
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. It is a very poetic book, the characters feel real and I got very involved in the storyline. It was just too much. Dolores was such a terrible person in the first half of the book. Not an easy read.
I really enjoyed this book and I already bought and downloaded Half Share, the second book in the series.
Short, fast paced, light reading. Call the hero Ishmael, really! And his middle name is Horatio. The author had me at the hero’s names. I read all the Horatio Hornblower novels as a teenager and loved them to pieces. I have re-read them many times over the years and still think they are among the best adventure novels I have ever read.
This books sticks to the feel of those books (minus the Napoleonic wars) and transplants the seafaring folk into space. But space is only a background setting for the actual plot here — the life and coming of age of a young man on a ship, how he settles into his new life of duty and faces the challenges he’s being confronted with.
The various main characters are charming and vivid, the humour is light hearted and all in all it’s a feel-good book that I found hard to put down.