I chose this one based on one of those “staff picks” walls at a local bookstore (obviously, a while ago). It has been on my to-read list for a while, and so was on the list of books I gave to my sister for Christmas gift ideas. It’s the shortest of the ones she got for me, so I started it on Christmas Day and finished it the next afternoon. It was very very good – a real page-turner.
In this, his second novel, Rice tells the story of a Northern reserve town and what happens when some kind of unspecified apocalypse happens. It is winter, and the small town is suddenly cut-off – plunged into darkness, and alone. While some elements are predictable, and there is some overt editorializing by the author in odd places (these are distracting, no matter how true), the characters are engaging and the overall premise quite interesting and well done. I have little doubt that those that live close to and off of the land will be better off than those in the city in such circumstances.
This was the third apocalypse-type story I read this year, so a bit of a pattern in this year of upheaval. The previous ones dealt with an approaching meteor and a major earthquake. In all of these stories, I was struck by how quickly communities descended into disorder. I did not believe those elements, questioning the likelihood of such organized evil emerging so quickly (I had the same doubt about the world of Gilead) but seeing them repeated in such diverse tales perhaps suggests my naiveté around this. Perhaps it’s just that I don’t like to believe that.
24 – a book by an author I’ve never read
Note: This book does not fit into any remaining available categories on this year’s list.