Here is the second book of the ridiculous challenge i've set myself. We have a few Book Groups at the shop. I oversee the one we hold on the second Tuesday of each month. How we choose the books is quite democratic. Everyone writes their choice down on a piece of paper and puts it in a hat, and then one is picked at random. It seems to work well. A couple of month's ago, out of the hat came Earth Abides.
"Oh no", I hear you cry, "not another one of those 'end of the world', over the top stories".
The story is set around California. Nearly all of the population has perished an unknown disease. Ish Williams, having been on a scientific study of the mountains around California, somehow survives. Returning to civilisation he finds no humans alive. Being something of a loner, Ish is able to deal with this far better than the other (very very few) survivors he encounters.
It dawns on him that he is now in a position of great responsibility if civilisation is going to survive and begins a quest to find people who will help him rebuild and repopulate the earth.
What is so very very special about this novel is that it doesn't go over the top, like so many other books on the subject. It is beautifully paced, and incredibly thoughtfully put together. It looks specifically at the issue of what would happen to the planet if humans were virtually wiped out. It not only focuses on practical issues such as the neglection of roads, and water pipes, the eventual end of electricity, food, transport and homes, but it also looks at stuff like religion and reproduction.
Ish finally finds Em, who, like Ish understands the importance of her survival. She's a hugely important figure in the book (possibly the most important), and together they begin to build a Tribe, a group of people who will hopefully be able to repopulate the world.
It very cleverly then goes follows the Tribe through 3 or 4 generations and looks at how this group of people develop and thrive.
I don't want to give too much away, but I was pretty blown away by this book.
The Book Group were also full of high praise for it and (of the 22 people who attended the meeting) its lowest score out of 10 was 6.
I gave it a 9, because it's that good.
If you want to buy it you can do so here. FREE P+P.