Narrated by: Jonathan Davis.
Publisher: Brilliance Audio & Del Rey Trade Paperback.
Source: Library and purchased at Amazon.
Favorite character: Em.
All in all: Interesting because it was a benchmark for its time, but slow and not compelling.
Synopsis: A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he'd either dreaded or hoped for. ~Goodreads.com
I had an interesting experience with this book. I listened to it on audio, but the second to last disc wouldn't work. It was so frustrating. I did happen to have a physical copy and I was able to finish it. So although I only physically read the book more toward the end I got the chance to see if I felt differently about the written work from the audio. I think the audio was better for me in this case because honestly, I didn't find much of it intriguing at all. It was slow listening but even slower reading.
Ish is a survivor who was a Geographer pre-end of humanity and now he is intrigued with watching the Earth's changes. Unfortunately, I really don't like Ish. He is arrogant and at times even unkind. He fancies that he himself is an intellectual, but most of the people he has found are simply not. He feels that the people who did survive the horrific events did so because they have no imagination and therefore cannot appreciate the scope of the situation. He even thinks his own wife is not that intelligent. Although I do have to say he gives her plenty of commendation for her strength of character.
What I kept thinking even halfway through the book was that he didn't go back and get the dog! There was a dog chained up in the beginning and when he realized that humanity was gone, he didn't go back to get the poor animal. I know it's silly, and maybe he was too far away, but I would have and I kept waiting for him to do so. He didn't even think about the dog again. I couldn't help but judge his character because of this. I know it's really being nitpicky, but I can't help it.
Much of the book is Ish's thoughts as he contemplates what the world has become and what it will become. He also analyzes the few people he meets and predicts their outcomes. The reader is also shown how Ish reaches certain decisions. It would be great for people who are really into existentialism and enjoy minute details of someone's thought process.
This book was published in 1949 and it is interesting to see the way of the world then and the references to that time period. What I also think is cool is the way the people change as generations go by. I would have really liked to have seen more of that.
I think that the Earth itself is the most interesting character to me. The humans are a counterpoint. I did find some interesting aspects, especially with the ecological observances. There were also some moments of heartbreak and drama. I also think that this book would be an amazing discussion book. There are so many issues to be studied. Social norms, rules, laws, teamwork. Even though I didn't enjoy the book, I wouldn't be opposed to discussing the topics that can be derived from it.
Most of the reviews are overwhelmingly positive -- Which kind of makes me feel like I'm missing something or I'm not bright enough to appreciate the importance of this work.
If you'd like to win this book in spite of my feelings, I am giving away my gently used copy. Only the last few chapters have been read. The paper you see sticking out is just some post-it notes.
Simply leave a comment below telling me what would be the first thing you would do if you woke up and most of mankind was gone. Me? I would probably go to the jewelry stores and try on tons of sparkly things. Then I would go in search of food with all my pretty baubles. Oh and then I would free all the animals!
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