"Is Kris the last man on Earth? Why does he live in a shack on a lonely Norfolk beach? What happened to the love of his life Samantha? How does he survive alone in a desolate England populated by packs of wild dogs? What event caused everyone to disappear? And ultimately, will Kris die alone with no one to read his story?"
This is a book about what it means to be human. Through first person narrative the reader follows Kris, an unassuming museum curator who suddenly finds himself completely alone. The narrative describes a bleak and difficult existence with the daily struggle just to survive forming the backdrop of the story. The main character discovers reserves of strength and resourcefulness within himself, and it is clear that he is now an entirely different person to the one who existed before the apocalyptic "event". But Kris also makes it clear that just surviving is not enough: he has a need to be with other people which is the driving force of the narrative.
Kris's search for other survivors, while recounting memories of his relationship with his girlfriend, Samantha, define his story. Kris spends a great deal of time reflecting on how he relates to other people and consequently how he defines himself. He struggles to give context to his life by creating the narrative, in the hope that someone may find his story and finally give his existence some meaning.
The character of Kris is well-drawn, and through his reminiscences his girlfriend Samantha comes to live vividly on the page. It's a difficult job for one character to carry off the entire narrative, but Kris's honest ramblings do just that.
I enjoyed the narrative style. Kris's story is written in a series of narrative fragments which give a "stream of consciousness" effect and effectively lay bare the character of Kris. The narrative consequently dwells on issues important to him: less about why he is here and more about who he is.
Kris is a man who is trying to relate to his own existence, and for me the best parts of the book are the small interstitial sections which make it clear that someone has found Kris's story, and is using it to try and make sense of their own existence.
A bleak, but thoroughly enjoyable book.
(reviewed 82 days after purchase)