Thursday, September 04, 2008
08.21 Empty World by John Christopher
Empty World (1977) by John Christopher
Pbk, Penguin 134 p.
The sampling of John Christopher's (Samuel Youd) oeuvre continues unabated. Having just finished the Tripods trilogy, I ran across this little novella in the bookstore the other day.
From the back: "Neil is alone after the death of his family in an accident. So when a virulent plague sweeps across the world, dealing death to all it touches, Neil has a double battle for survival: not just for the physical necessities of life, but with the subtle pressures of fear and loneliness."
Another post-apocalyptic novel! This is definitely a young adult book but I can't imagine what school district would ever have their kids read it. The British must be far more intellectually sophisticated that us North Americans.
The tone of the story is interesting. There is no self-analysis or moaning - just a lot of stiff upper lip getting on with things. although initially in the country, Neil is an urban boy who has little experience with milking a cow or fixing a car. The plague is relentless and for much of the book Neil is alone however he does have some encounters. Christopher, like other British PA authors, uses these encounters to illustrate something about the human condition. In the end Neil is left with a moral conundrum which seemingly imparts a lesson to the reader. What that lesson is still seems unclear to me.
Posted by Jason L