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patfrench

Stop Making Sense

I read anything that's nailed down, or even just moving slowly. Cereal boxes, candy wrappers, all genres, etc., and I don't always have much time for arbitrary distinctions like literary fiction vs. genre fiction.

The Last Town on Earth

The Last Town on Earth - Thomas Mullen This is the story of a fictional logging/milling town in Washington state that decides to quarantine itself from the influenza epidemic of 1918.

Eh. The writing was fine, if a bit tedious, but it just didn't grab me for some reason. A lot of the action happens "off-screen," which lends a detached feeling--I would have loved to see some more of the up-close-and-personal interactions. None of the characters feel quite real, perhaps because we don't get a lot of back story on most of them. Philip, the adopted son of the town's owner, is the only one I got a real feel for--I wish the other characters had been as well drawn.

One book that handles a similar situation (plague in England) amazingly well is Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders (well, until the end of the book, anyway), and the definitive book on the 1918 influenza outbreak is The Great Influenza, by John Barry, both of which I've reviewed. Maybe the current debut novel suffers in comparison with the two other masterworks.