Anansi, 2017 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
eon Meyer is one of my favorite thriller writers worldwide for novels like
Heart of the Hunter
, all set in South Africa. Now he brings us something very different in
(a brilliant dystopian translated from the Afrikaans by K.L. Seegers).
he story opens dramatically with a middle-aged Nico Storm saying
'I want to tell you about my father's murder.'
He starts his memoir at age thirteen as he and his father Willem drive a truck through a South Africa, where society has collapsed after most people (95%) died in a pandemic. They scavenge as they go, seeking fuel, supplies, tools, do-it-yourself books - and other survivors.
fter an encounter with wild dogs leaves Willem badly injured, they hole up in Vanderkloof while he's racked with fever. Pa tells Willem that this is where he's planned to settle. When they encounter violent men who have kidnapped and raped a woman, Willem can't shoot, but Nico does, and takes on the role of his gentle father's protector.
illem builds, and leads a sanctuary community in Vanderkloof. The author shares many survivors' stories and trials. Folk work together to rebuild some measure of civilization. When former biker Domingo joins them, Nico hero worships him. He's tough, skilled in weaponry, and organizes their defenses. After many more people arrive, including a bishop, tension erupts between factions.
he community survives attacks of outlaw gangs who prey on the weak. They regain electricity and babies are born. But Nico turns more and more from his gentle father to follow the deadly Domingo, and take an active role in the defense of Vanderkloof. He helps rescue the small boy who becomes his adopted brother, and joins Domingo's Special Ops team. Then Sofia joins their community, and changes his life.
o far, it's a regular dystopian, though a very well written one that does a wonderful job of portraying credible feelings and character development in a time of crisis. But then comes an extraordinary twist of an ending, one that makes the reader (at least this one) want to start the story all over again and re-examine every word.
. It will make you think hard about what you would do in similar circumstances, as well as about end-justifies-means decisions.
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.
Find more SF books on our
or in our book