Ugh. I was hoping that the book I hit the first Cannonball with was going to be an awesome epic. I selected this book on that premise. Post apocalyptic and highly regarded, I thought I was on to a winner. So I’m a little bit gutted that I flat out fucking hated this book.
So, a killer flu has offed 99.9% of the population. Still alive are Hig, his dog Jasper and Hig’s nearest neighbour, Bangley, a “gun-toting misanthrope” according to the synopsis. Bitch, please. Hig flies his 1956 Cessna out as far as he dares, looking for the possibility that some shred of civilisation survived. Hearing a voice on his radio one day, he risks it all to try and connect with a couple of survivors.
The main issue I had with this book is that it’s murderously dull. And the reason I found it so effing boring is all due to Heller’s painfully flat and clipped style he’s adopted for Hig’s first person narrative. Randomly punctuated, oddly repetitive and seemingly too cool for speech marks, the way Heller chose to tell what is actually a good story took this from “promising” to “dear God, shoot me before I have to read another page of it”.
A true disappointment, and one in which I am a fairly lone dissenting voice, I admit. If you love E. Annie Proulx and The Passage, then this is your ideal book. If the former makes you want to set your face on fire and the latter was a crushing disappointment (ie, you’re me), then this really is one to avoid.