It’s funny how much interesting and less goofy this book is than the movie version that was rightfully panned in the mid90s. Although, I will say that I loved it because it came at a time that was woefully underserved in terms of good post-apocalyptic stories out there in the mainstream.
The book takes places after such a collapse and involves a man named Gordon travelling from town to town in the Pacific Northwest, which should rightfully give you some Ursula K Leguin vibes. He comes across a dead postal carrier and takes up the accouterments of the trade and begins delivering mail. Because of the itinerant nature of the job and his attitude, the book travels with him from town to town and is sort of fractured in terms of plot and pacing in this way.
The book ultimately is about the ways in which society hangs together and what kinds of public goods and basic human connections are needed. I feel that there’s some sense that many many people would both want and adhere to basic human dignity and decency once the crisis parts of a collapse has passed. And this book makes the same basic argument. It shares a lot of similarity to a book like The Road by Cormac McCarthy, but I think that book is darker and a little cynical (I oddly don’t find it entirely cynical) and this book is dark to an extent and oddly hopeful (but I don’t find it expressly hopeful). It’s more about the kinds of undeniable ways people will still cling to the semblance society.