A personal mea culpa is owed Edleweiss and Sourcebooks
for taking so long to review this ARC.
It’s hard being a human. Most of the time we’re just blind idiots seeking joy in a world full of fear and pain. We have no idea what we’re doing, and on the rare occasions when we get things right, we’re just lucky.”
-Ed Hill (End of the World Running Club)
Edgar Hill is a self-centered egotist overweight slob uninterested in exercise and more interested in a cold brew. He prefers time away from his family and the drudgery of home life with squawking children and the admonitions of his exhausted wife. He loves his family; just doesn’t see the point in investing his time with them. He doesn’t seem to find the point of anything, actually.
His heavy drinking has obscured what has been happening in the news so when the world ends, he is caught flat footed. There had been rumors in the news that something bad might happened; no one, most certainly Ed, took it seriously. When it happened, asteroids destroyed most of the UK, leaving the landscape resembling the craters of the moon.
We’re idiots. Creatures of denial who have learned not to be afraid of our closets. We need to see the monster in the room before we scream. The monster burst in on Sunday. . . All I know is that the end – in the end – came from the skies.
Ed, his wife and two children were miraculously rescued and join survivors, under the control of what remained of the military, at the site of a former military base. One day, while a handful of people, including Ed, were out scavenging for food and supplies, helicopters evacuated the refugee camp to another site nearly 500 miles away.
And just like that, Ed finds himself alone with a half dozen strangers. With nothing. With no idea what to do next. All realizing they have been abandoned.
Ed’s journey to find his family is the crux of the story. This once degenerate husband and father finds it took the world coming to an end to make him see himself in the eyes of his family. The story progresses slowly, often sprinkled with heart-rendering descriptions of tragedy witnessed along the long road back to his family.
There are moments of humor and levity that provide relief from the harsh conditions and anxiety of survival. I, like others who reviewed the book, found that the title didn’t exact match the dialogue. Ed’s running didn’t occur until roughly two-thirds of the way through the book. Just why a character that finds physical exercise and running in particular offensive, is an interesting twist. Ed never learns to love running but he discovers what Maslow defines as self-actualization, the desire to become everything that one is capable of becoming.
A good read during these uncertain times.