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A tall English writer...
on Aug. 17, 2013 :
Ever wondered what it would be like to find yourself the last man alive on earth? Simon Poore explores this idea with gritty realism, gripping in parts, through a series of flashbacks discovered after the event. Strangely, the book seems familiar to me, once finished, perhaps because sections reminded me of some of my boy hood experiences. The story is also interwoven with the subject's romantic happiness and regrets, some of which is a little corny.
(reviewed 39 days after purchase)
on July 02, 2013 :
"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)
on July 01, 2013 :
Was Kris to be the last person alive in England? Or even on the planet? Everyone has just disappeared.
After having a mental breakdown from the loss of his Sammie and finding himself alone in the town he grew up in and neighboring towns Kris tries to rebuild his life alone. He has never had to learn how to survive in nature without the necessities of electricity and power. He fends off wild packs of dogs, a tiger, reads tons of books and finally starts a journal. He has several false starts on his writing due to depression and indecisions. He even wonders if it matters at all, if anyone would ever read his journal. If anyone would ever be interested in the history of his life and the mysterious bubble that moves in so close to him but is still out of reach. Kris is convinced all of the humans that disappeared are on the other side of the bubble, but his attempts to reach the bubble and step through it fail.
Eventually he takes the plunge and leaves his hut on the beach to go in search for other people. He is surprised and saddened by what he finds...
Unbeknown to Kris someone does eventually find his journal. Someone who has an idea of what the mysterious bubble is and what happened on the planet earth to cause everyone to go missing.
Rating 4 out of 5 stars- The Last Englishman and the bubble had me intrigued from the beginning of the book and had me trying to figure out through the whole story what had actually happened to humankind and why only Kris was left. The conclusion is interesting and makes perfect sense for anyone who can think outside of the box. The conclusion also doesn't seem so far fetched.
(reviewed 39 days after purchase)