Most people ignored the outrageous reports on the news. But they became too frequent, they became too real. And soon, they began happening down the street. Then the Internet died. The television and radio went silent. The phones stopped ringing. And we couldn’t look outside anymore. Malorie raises the children the only way she can; indoors. The house is quiet. The doors are locked, the curtains are closed, mattresses are nailed over the windows.
They are out there.
There are numerous books and films out there about post-apocalyptic worlds, dystopias, the destruction of mankind… a lot of the same territory is covered. It’s hard to come up with something original. The most exciting I’d seen prior to this was The Children of Men. Josh Malerman manages to go one step further, resulting in a book that will stop you in your tracks, keeping you reading in one-sitting, so that you will miss your stop on the train, bump into lampposts, and stay awake all night.
The end of the world starts in typical fashion – something ‘strange’ is happening to people in different parts of the world. The events increase in frequency until they reach Chicago, where Malorie lives with her sister Shannon. They have just moved into a flat together, there is a new boyfriend on the scene. All is looking good, until Malorie realises she is pregnant, and shortly afterwards she ends up alone and scared.
The story flits from past to present – from pregnancy to the aftermath – as the world falls further into decline. Malorie must make a perilous journey to find other survivors… not once, but twice. And throughout all of this, she must avoid what lurks outside her front door…
…and she can’t open her eyes.
One word review: Brilliant.
[Big thanks to Liz Loves Books for sharing her review copy with me]