Title: SONGS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
Author: SALEEMA NAWAZ
Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, SPECULATIVE FICTION
Length: 438 PAGES
Publisher: McCLELLAND & STEWART – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA
Received From: NETGALLEY
Release Date: AUGUST 25, 2020 – EBOOK AVAILABLE NOW
Price: $24.95 CDN
Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐
From the award-winning, Canada Reads-shortlisted author of Bone and Bread comes an immersive and eerily prescient novel about the power of human connection in a time of crisis, as the bonds of love, family, and duty are tested by an impending pandemic.
How quickly he’d forgotten a fundamental truth: the closer you got to the heart of a calamity, the more resilience there was to be found.
This is the story of a handful of people who find themselves living through an unfolding catastrophe.
Elliot is a first responder in New York, a man running from past failures and struggling to do the right thing.
Emma is a pregnant singer preparing to headline a benefit concert for victims of the outbreak–all while questioning what kind of world her child is coming into.
Owen is the author of a bestselling plague novel with eerie similarities to the real-life pandemic. As fact and fiction begin to blur, he must decide whether his lifelong instinct for self-preservation has been worth the cost.
As the novel moves back and forth in time, we discover these characters’ ties to one another and to those whose lives intersect with theirs, in an extraordinary web of connection and community that reveals none of us is ever truly alone.
Linking them all is the mystery of the so-called ARAMIS Girl, a woman at the first infection site whose unknown identity and whereabouts cause a furor.
Written and revised between 2013 and 2019, and brilliantly told by an unforgettable chorus of voices, Saleema Nawaz’s glittering novel is a moving and hopeful meditation on what we owe to ourselves and to each other.
It reminds us that disaster can bring out the best in people–and that coming together may be what saves us in the end.
I was surprised to learn that the writing of this book took place before the Covid19 Pandemic. In fact, this book was begun six years ago.
SONGS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD centers around a coronavirus disease called ARAMIS which is eerily similar to COVID19. There are other things in this story that are extremely similar to what is happening in the world today.
In fact, one of the main characters is an author who had written fictional account of a plague similar to ARAMIS. Little did Saleema Nawaz know that she was going to experience firsthand what her character went through.
The main difference between this book and other sci-fi / post apocalyptic /dystopian / speculative fiction novels is the outlook of the characters. What I mean by this is that in most of the books of this genre, the actions of the populace devolve into violence over the course of the story. In fact, in most post-apocalyptic books, the plague ends up being less dangerous than the people.
In SONGS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, the majority of the characters act for the good of society rather than simply taking care of themselves and their families. Of course, they do not take reckless risks, but they are somehow able to hang onto their humanity. This is a refreshingly optimistic view of how people act during a catastrophe.
Although I said this book is optimistic, don’t think that every character is perfect; they are far from it. There are also characters that act like self righteous jerks, as well as a few characters you will want to smack upside of their head for how they behave. In short, just as in real life, there are good people, bad people, and people who fall somewhere in the middle.
I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a unique science fiction novel with characters that are so relatable that you will feel like they are friends of yours by the end of the book.
I rate SONGS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A READER’S GUIDE CAN BE FOUND HERE
“It was the first time in his life he had encountered thinking – the deliberate thinking of difficult thoughts – as a thing to be encouraged, rather than staved off or endured.”
“The way she leaned into him, Stu realized that marriage had strength embedded in its very architecture, a resilience that beat back the usual threats. Given his parents’ union, he’d always thought of marriage as something more like resignation, a contractual obligation of last resort. But he now saw the hope of it, the faith in the promise itself.”
“‘But was it me in there?’ Jericho asked. ‘Or the person I used to be?'”
“Thinking is a sacred disease. And there’s no cure.”
“Everything is a song in one way or another.”
“As time went on, he began to think of his declarations of love as an ill-conceived engineering project, like digging graves along a shoreline; they could neither withstand nor contain her sorrow, nor his growing sense that he was no longer enough for her.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Saleema Nawaz’s first novel, Bone and Bread, won the Quebec Writers’ Federation Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the 2016 Canada Reads competition.
She is also the author of the short story collection Mother Superior, and a winner of the Writers’ Trust of Canada / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, she currently lives in Montreal, Quebec.
To learn more about this author, visit the following links:
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:
Penguin Random House Canada is a full service Canadian publisher and distributor of books in hardcover, trade paperback, mass market and digital formats.
Imprints of Penguin Random House Canada include Anchor Canada, Bond Street Books, Doubleday Canada, Knopf Canada, Penguin Canada, Puffin Canada, Random House Canada, Razorbill Canada, Vintage Canada, McClelland & Stewart, Tundra Books and Appetite by Random House.
To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links: