novels a little more science-fictiony than this one. But both the cover and the plot description lured me in, and once I picked it up it became part of a string of books that has made me feel like my bad reading patch was blessedly over. Admittedly, the cover kept luring me in initially because I kept confusing it with Adam Mansbach's Go the F*ck to Sleep (go on and look, tell me I'm wrong) but I eventually managed to address this book on its own merits.
I can't quite articulate why this worked so much better for me than others of its ilk. There was something hypnotic about the way it veered from a panoramic view to a microscopic one. Some people find it contrived when a story is about a random assortment of people and their various interactions, glancing or intimate - and of course it is contrived, it's kind of supposed to be, so I've always found this criticism a little confusing.
I found the character of Arthur, the actor, and the treatment of success and fame fascinating. I loved the Traveling Symphony and their creed "Because survival is insufficient" and the habit of referring to its members as First Tuba and Third Violin. There were a lot of characters, but I really felt that the author managed to do justice to all of them, which is no small feat. And the spectre of the all-too-human "prophet" was plenty scary for anyone who requires a little more tension than that provided by, you know, the total collapse of civilization.
And let's just talk about the author for a second, and how it pains me ever so slightly to heap praise on her, because I am at heart a petty, petty person, and she lives in New York and writes like this, and looks like this.
|Author photo by Dese'Rae L.|
I mean, COME ON.
Also, a couple of things: number one, a bunch of people get stranded in an airport because they were on the last planes that came in before everything shut down. A girl walks around asking if anyone has any of her antidepressant because she's run out, then goes into shivering horrible withdrawal and DIES. So when I told my doctor that I NEEDED to get off mine because what if there was a zombie apocalypse and I slowed down my band of survivors with my tiresome withdrawal agonies, well, my girl Emily had my back on that, am I right? Also, somebody does make a comment at one point that usually when she'd read about these scenarios, there were zombies involved and "I'm just saying, it could be a lot worse." Which makes me forgive the author for being frigging drop-dead gorgeous and able to rock a peacoat like nobody's business in addition to being a really top-rate writer.
Really, really liked this. Probably buying it at some point.