Contented Reader

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After the Apocalypse

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After the Apocalypse

Maureen F. McHugh

Small Beer Press

This is a book I’ve been looking forward to.  I took McHugh’s previous collection of short stories, Mothers and Other Monsters, with me to China a few summers ago, where I read it in some truly odd places.  Once I saw the reviews that her latest collection was getting, I was eagerly watching my mailbox for my copy to arrive.

This collection is even better than the first.

The stories are connected by a thematic thread- the aftermath of the end of the world.  The form the end of the world takes is different in each story, some a literal apocalypse (the zombie apocalypse features in several of the stories, also bird flu and a nuclear strike), some an apocalypse only for one character (the impending death of a parent, a medical experiment gone badly wrong).  McHugh’s prose style is deceptively simple: she chooses simple words and simple structures, assembled with devastating competence to create powerful emotional effects.

I close the book feeling quiet and haunted.


Written by Contented Reader

November 19, 2011 at 7:51 am

Posted in Reviews


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