Pages: 76 / 333; 23%
The Reason for the Reaping: There’s been some buzz about this novel, and it’s a National Book Award finalist to boot. I know nothing else! Let’s test the waters, shall we?
As I Lay Summarizing: The end of the world is nigh, with the Georgia Flu wiping out basically errybody on the planet. Twenty years later, Kirsten travels with an orchestra slash Shakespearian acting company. No electricity, no gas, no WiFi. Plenty of eerie post-apocalyptic vibes to go around, however.
The Great Comparisons: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, All the Birds in the Sky
The Line That Killed Me: “and by this point he’s twenty-eight, time speeding up in a way that disconcerts him, the parties going too late and getting too sloppy, waiting in the ER on two separate occasions for news of friends who’ve OD’d on exotic combinations of alcohol and prescription medications, the same people at party after party, the sun rising on scenes of tedious debauchery, everyone looking a little undone” (76). Death by…undoing.
Best Character: Jeevan
Why [As] You Like It: Many contemporary post-apocalyptic works seem to be overrun with things like zombies, doom and gloom, and baseball bats. A traveling caravan of Shakespeare and music is where it’s at. Mandel weaves a story with the same sort of ominous overtones of days gone by in any book like this, but the focus is on her characters, not so much the big bad scary world around them. Don’t be mad (would you be more mad to hear I haven’t even seen The Walking Dead?), but a world without zombies is refreshing and real and more relatable.
Why I’m Gone, Girl: I need to get up to speed with my Shakespeare. Even after having taken a Shakespeare class, there is a lot than I’m missing in Mandel’s references. Readers who are unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s plays may feel something is lacking, even if Mandel’s writing is intriguing and accessible otherwise. I just want to feel smart while reading about Shakespeare, and Mandel is doing the opposite. Rude.
Last Line, Last Chance: “…-wardness and goes to great lengths to avoid it.”
Will I turn the page, or toss it into Mount Doom?
I’ll promise myself to read more Shakespeare later. Now, I need to turn the page in Station Eleven. King Lear will have to wait.