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The Lightest Object in the Universe

Algonquin. Jul. 2019. 336p. ISBN 9781616207939. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616209483. SF
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DEBUT Eisele's first novel is apocalypse lite: there are no zombies, invasions, or wars. Instead, there's the flu, a flood, and an inevitable financial fall, a combination that makes this end-of-the-world journey seem ordinary in the best way. These catastrophes hinder access to food, transportation, and medicine, and create room for predatory spiritual leaders and gangs of unruly teenagers (called the T-Rizers) to wreak havoc on the survivors. Beatrix, on the East Coast, and Carson, on the West, are desperate to find each other to navigate this new era together. And for every person who threatens their progress toward each other, there are others who help. The survivors they meet along the way are rediscovering homesteading and redefining community as they reconstruct a postal system, pool their collective preapocalypse skills, and learn how to trust one another.
VERDICT This is Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain crossed with Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven. Filled with luminous writing and messages of love and hope, this story will motivate everyone to sharpen their ham radio skills.

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