This is honestly one of, if not the best, novels I have read this year (as in from the year 2019). I was kind of blown away at how much emotional depth and narrative depth there is in this novel.
The novel is a kind of post-apocalyptic novel, and it is, but there’s so much background and context provided in the three different timelines and narratives happening in this novel, that’s it’s so much more than “just” a post-apocalyptic.
So the timelines/narratives here: we have the post-apocalyptic narrative of a group of survivors of a plague going from house to house looking for additional survivors, supplies, and heading to a cryptically described “facility” where their pseudo-messianic/mystic leading to a increasingly impending sense of doom. Two, we have the weeks and months leading up to the plague, a kind of flu when causes a kind of destruction of one’s sense of identity and personality that causes the infected to eventually act out the rote procedures of their late capitalism ad infinitum (well, until they die). Three, we have the girlhood of a put-upon daughter of a .5 generation (immigrating as a young child) of Chinese heritage to the US, specifically Salt Lake City, and then dealing with her parents’ deaths as a college student.
So in a lot of ways this feels familiar, but the voice was so strong, and the depth of the background information and context was so realized that I found myself much more interested in pre- more than post- sections in this novel.
This book most felt like a better and more realized version of Station Eleven or a less epic version of Oryx and Crake (epic being a defining term not a qualitative one).