Monday, August 22, 2011
In concept, THE WAY WE FALL is like a cross between LIFE AS WE KNEW IT (diary format, isolation) and THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE by Carla Buckley (flu-like pandemic). It’s apocalyptic, but Kaelyn’s pragmatic voice and the diary format shield us from a truly contagious sense of panic.
Despite hitting some familiar beats of epidemic fiction (looting, violence, characters close to main character dying, dwindling supplies, etc), the narrative still manages to feel fresh. This is partly because of the nature of the disease explored here – one which causes its victims to become overly social and dispense with inhibitions. Kaelyn writes of her encounters with the infected and what they (over)share with her – often about her own shortcomings. It’s like looking at the main character through the prism of a funhouse mirror.
I was also fascinated by trying to figure out how reliable of a narrator Kaelyn was considering she was writing to a best friend she also seemed to be in love with. Was she writing with the intention of him reading it someday and therefore minimizing her encounters with another love interest? (Or exaggerating them to make him jealous?) Was she writing nice things about his new girlfriend to keep the peace? Maybe I’m crazy, but these are the types of things I think about while reading.
THE WAY WE FALL is not especially driven by action, but nonetheless it had me at the edge of my seat and it made me care. It comes out January 24, 2012. Find out more about it at the author’s website.
Zombie chickens say: Compelling character study of a girl caught up in an epidemic.
The author has her own song for the Ultimate Dystopian Playlist (see her interview), but I thought I'd chose one too: The World Has Turned and Left Me Here by Weezer. Sample lyric: “And in your place an empty space has filled the void behind my face.”
See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore