It might be morbid, but we’re a little obsessed with good books that show how life is after an apocalypse. To butcher T.S. Elliot’s quote, “Sometimes the World ends with a whisper, sometimes with a bang.”
The Testaments (The Handmaid’s Tale #2), Margaret Atwood
Because of all the hype, I read The Testaments (The Handmaid’s Tale #2), Margaret Atwood. This follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale was highly anticipated because the tv series did so well. I listened to the audiobook as soon as it came out, and loved it. The different POVs held my attention – especially from Lydia who was around from the beginning of the movement in Gilead, when men took over and relegated women to be basically their subjects. The Testaments tells the story of the downfall of Gilead in an engaging manner.
Parable of the Talents (Earthseed #2), Octavia Butler
In the first book of the series, Parable of the Sower, Lauren Olamina leaves her burning town in a World that’s been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages, to find a safe place to live and expand her new belief system called Earth Seed. In this book, Parable of the Talents, Lauren’s community, Acorn, has grown and is thriving, but the rest of the United States is falling apart.
Slavery is back in and children are being bought and sold into the sex trade. Political leaders have fanatical followers who are burning non-believers. Not to mention the religious zealots. This book is pretty dark at times, and Butler writes so that you can see how easily that World switched into chaos – and it’s definitely comparable to what’s happening in the US now.
The Last Policeman, Ben H. Winters
What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway? Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.
The audiobook narrated by Peter Berkrot is the best way to experience this book in my opinion. Berkrot really captures the essence of recently promoted Detective Hank Palace, who remains stoic, edgy and slightly cynical about the fact that he’s trying to do his job while the World is ending … but doing it anyway. Would I do that? Would you? And the narrator also manages to bring out the full story, set the scene well and deliver on the different characters that we come across throughout the book. This is probably not the best book to read while we’re currently experiencing an epic pandemic – but I’m going to read the next book in the series anyway!
I remember when dystopian books were very “in”? Is anyone still reading these? Have post-apocalyptic novels replaced them?