Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: death, dystopia, extreme religion, murder.
Goodreads Rating: 2 Stars
This book was one of my most anticipated reads last year, which of course makes absolute sense that it took me almost a year to get to reading it. As you can already tell from the GR rating, it unfortunately didn’t live up to my expectations.
First off, Barnes’ novel is a post-apocalyptic city, in the North End- in which not many people survived it’s demise. As a survivor, he mostly observes what’s around him, as face to face conversation and contact is rare. He works for the local newspaper still, delivering what shreds of news is available- much of which is survivors trying to locate other survivors. While on the hunt for more blankets to stay warm, the main character (who goes unnamed throughout the novel) meets a woman with a young boy. Children are extremely rare in the North End, and even more extraordinary, he recognizes the woman from a wanted ad placed in the paper.
From here, the trio plays a game of cat and mouse, but most of all the main character continues to drone on about the bleek landscape that he calls home. It’s probably one of the slowest, most uneventful novels I’ve read in a dystopian setting, which is my biggest qualm. However, the writing is beautiful, transportive, and precise. Barnes knows prose.
If you’re a fan of prose, you might enjoy this novel for the alternative that it provides in comparison to so many action-thriller dystopians out there. However, I just felt like in the 200+ pages, I never really got much plot- just an abundance of eerie setting.
Published: March 6, 2018
TL/DR: The City Where We Once Lived by Eric Barnes is
Read it? If you like prose, this is a book for you. Otherwise, I’m saying skip it.
Recommend it? Again, if you like prose…
Buy it? No. The cover is really cool though. If you buy for the cover, I won’t judge you.
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