This is a wonderful book. I was initially drawn to it because it deals with life after the end of the world, which is a subject I find fascinating, but I feel like this book is actually so much more than that.
The novel takes the form of the diary entries of our main character Jon, who takes it upon himself to record the events that happen after the world ends. He is staying in a hotel in Switzerland for a work conference when the nuclear bombs fall, ending civilisation as it currently exists.
After the bombs fall, Jon must adjust to life in this post-apocalyptic setting. He stays at the hotel with a host of other interesting characters and, as they try to carve out their way to survival, they make a grizzly discovery: the body of a young girl in a water tank in the hotel.
Jon becomes obsessed with solving this crime, and the novel does an amazing job of showing his descent mentally as his obsession devours him. Jameson constantly toys with the reader, using the unreliable narrative to twist reality.
As time goes on, tensions rise in the hotel as people turn on one another. The other characters in this book were great; I loved their different personalities and the exploration of how different types of people might cope with this sort of experience. As their society begins to inevitably crumble, characters start to break down, and their slice of civilisation is further tested when it becomes apparent that they might not be the only survivors. Isolated and vulnerable in a lonely hotel, the characters plight is genuinely unsettling.
I adored this novel. I felt Jameson did a great job of writing a twisty, unpredictable narrative that went beyond the constraints of genre. It’s not a light read, but it certainly an addictive one that stays with you.
Reasons to read:
- A unique take on what life might be like at the end of the world
- Well written characters
- Good range of diversity in the characters
- Unpredictable and unsettling
Possible trigger warnings:
- Drug use
- Mental health topics
- Death and violence
- Domestic abuse
- Discussion of rape