Whether Violent or Natural

Overlook. Jun. 2023. 224p. ISBN 9781419764660. $25. SF
After a bacterial apocalypse kills off much of the world’s population, Kit and Crevan have managed to make a life for themselves by hiding away on an island, in a bunker under an abandoned castle. One night while out for a walk, they come upon a half-drowned woman washed up on the shore. Crevan attempts to save her life, but Kit is sure she is going to destroy their safe haven. This intruder will lead them both to take actions that could destroy everything they’ve built, as well as reopen old wounds that Kit has buried for years. Told entirely in Kit’s frenetic voice and rambling stream-of-consciousness, the storytelling verges on experimental fiction at times, depicting a woman who is deeply flawed and damaged. Her internal dialogue is full of complex thoughts and turns of phrases, but in her interactions with Crevan, she uses baby talk and looks to him as a father figure.
VERDICT Calder (The Offset) tells a unique tale that will appeal to many cli-fi fans, though some may be put off by the leisurely pacing and introspective storytelling.
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