!!> Ebook ➥ Afterland ➦ Author Lauren Beukes – Thomashillier.co.uk


Afterland Children Of Men Meets The Handmaid S Tale In This Bowstring Taut, Visceral, And Incredibly Timely Thriller About How Far A Mother Will Go To Protect Her Son From A Hostile World Transformed By The Absence Of Men Most Of The Men Are Dead Three Years After The Pandemic Known As The Manfall, Governments Still Hold And Life Continues But A World Run By Women Isn T Always A Better PlaceTwelve Year Old Miles Is One Of The Last Boys Alive, And His Mother, Cole, Will Protect Him At All Costs On The Run After A Horrific Act Of Violence And Pursued By Cole S Own Ruthless Sister, Billie All Cole Wants Is To Raise Her Kid Somewhere He Won T Be Preyed On As A Reproductive Resource Or A Sex Object Or A Stand In Son Someplace Like HomeTo Get There, Cole And Miles Must Journey Across A Changed America In Disguise As Mother And Daughter From A Military Base In Seattle To A Luxury Bunker, From An Anarchist Commune In Salt Lake City To A Roaming Cult That S All Too Ready To See Miles As The Answer To Their Prayers, The Two Race To Stay Ahead At Every Step Even As Billie And Her Sinister Crew Draw CloserA Sharply Feminist, High Stakes Thriller From Award Winning Author Lauren Beukes, Afterland Brilliantly Blends Psychological Suspense, American Noir, And Science Fiction Into An Adventure All Its Own And Perfect For Our Times


10 thoughts on “Afterland

  1. says:

    If Broken Monsters was Lauren Beukes s great Clive Barker novel, then Afterland is her great Stephen King novel By the way, I personally hate it when blurbs state breathlessly that if you loved x by y then this is JUST the book for you because it is MORE of the same Beukes has carved a niche for herself as one of the most innovative speculative genre writers at work today, on the same level as Clive Barker and Stephen King I deliberately use the term speculative , as opposed to theIf Broken Monsters was Lauren Beukes s great Clive Barker novel, then Afterland is her great Stephen King novel By the way, I personally hate it when blurbs state breathlessly that if you loved x by y then this is JUST the book for you because it is MORE of the same Beukes has carved a niche for herself as one of the most innovative speculative genre writers at work today, on the same level as Clive Barker and Stephen King I deliberately use the term speculative , as opposed to therestrictive horror or SF , because she is one of those writers who effortlessly transcends and transforms genre, while adding a uniquely South African twist.We have been waiting a long time for Beukes to finish her next book In a live Facebook launch for Afterland, with the actual event cancelled due to the ongoing lockdown in South Africa, Beukes admitted that while it took her five years to finish Afterland, she was busy with a range of other projects during this time, from comics to a book of essays and short stories.She said that the first three chapters were the most difficult to write, as she struggled to slip into the skin of her characters Eventually she came to the inevitable realisation that her bad guy would have to be a woman, and thereafter everything clicked into place.Beukes added that she ended up cutting about 50 000 words of back story, which must have been a brutal editing process But the rigorous discipline and commitment to her story that this implies is abundantly evident in the final product.There is not a single superfluous or misplaced word in this nearly 350 page book Despite its length, it does not feel overlong at all Neither are there any lulls or those kinds of filler patches that so many big books seem to have these days The chapters are short and punchy, but not so staccato like as to disrupt the narrative and turn it into a series of vignettes.I am reminded of the frog being boiled alive analogy Once you are in the velvet grip of this book, Beukes ratchets up the suspense until the tension is almost unbearable The alternating viewpoints between Billie and Cole as they engage in a desperate cat and mouse road trip across a post apocalyptic America is seamless and riveting.The level of detail in the book points to a mindboggling amount of research by Beukes In her afterword she mentions that she travelled many of the same roads as her motley group of characters.Yes, there is a rather cheeky Interlude towards the middle that gives us the lowdown on this particular prostate targeting virus that has wiped out the bulk of the male population worldwide, but it comes at a crucial turning pointing of the narrative that effectively bookends the two parts of the book Before and After.As with the best kind of apocalyptic fiction, Beukes is farinterested in the reconfiguration of society that takes place in the wake of her fictional pandemic, and the new forms of social organisation, interaction, and of course deviancy and pathology that results.Here the Sisters of All Sorrows, juxtaposed with the Barbarella sex club, are perfect examples In a perfect example of how fucked up society can become, and the cognitive dissonance that defines so much of our world today rich poor, haves have nots, East West, white black, etc , Barbarella is by far thewelcoming and humane institution than the shelter with a prayer and mortification offered by the psycho Sisters.Miles having American cousins allows for a big family get together every few years across the hemispheres affords Beukes the strategic opportunity to let the reader see America through Cole s South African filter There are a lot of comparisons between similar landscapes, for example, and the differences between cities South African colloquialisms which will probably seem like neologisms to American readers pepper the text, making for a weird dissonance that is as comforting as it is disquieting.And few writers can do disquiet or creepy existential dread erupting into appalling violence quite like Beukes Which means that reading this book during South Africa s lockdown due to a global pandemic makes for a truly surreal reading experience.There are many instances where the book seems spookily prescient the shortage of sanitiser, rigorous hand washing becoming a ritual of daily life, the worry that a cure will never be found that it seems ripped from the headlines of today s newspapers.Given the amount of time that Beukes spent on this book, the last thing she must have anticipated was writing a version of a reality that was about to become so frighteningly and alarmingly clear I am reminded of Ali Smith s Seasonal Quartet and Dave Hutchinson s Fractured Europe books, both writers who also tapped into the zeitgeist with a lightning rod.In the wake of the success of the television adaptation of The Handmaid s Tale, there seems to have been a spate of novels focusing on female dystopias, such as Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King, The Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich and The Power by Naomi Alderman, to name but a few.Beukes breathes fresh life into the sub genre by taking a rather unique spin on her dystopia as a tabula rasa for a potential brave r new world She was asked during the Facebook launch as to what is the purpose of reading such a difficult and upsetting book during the current crisis Surely an escapist beach read is best to forget our current troubles.Beukes replied that the book allows the reader to project their own version of Afterland onto current events In other words, we are at a unique fulcrum of history, where the decisions we take post crisis will shape our future for generations to come We are all like Cole and Mila, driving headlong into an unknown future, armed only with our hope and belief in our enduring humanity


  2. says:

    You can t imagine how much the world can change in six months You just can tExcept that, now, of course we all can3.5 stars rounded up to 4 I ve read all of Lauren Beukes novels and my favorites are Zoo City and The Shining Girls The thing I love most about this South African author is her knack for wildly inventive plot lines criminals who gets assigned animal companions or time travelling serial killers That said, I thought the story line for Afterland was the most norYou can t imagine how much the world can change in six months You just can tExcept that, now, of course we all can3.5 stars rounded up to 4 I ve read all of Lauren Beukes novels and my favorites are Zoo City and The Shining Girls The thing I love most about this South African author is her knack for wildly inventive plot lines criminals who gets assigned animal companions or time travelling serial killers That said, I thought the story line for Afterland was the most normal of everything she s done until now not necessarily a bad thing, especially in a time when most of us are drawn to easy reading books.The story is set in the future where 99% of men are dead after a global man plague Cole and her twelve year old son Miles are on the run from her sister and a group of boy traffickers, but they also have to be on the look out for the Department of Men who wants to quarantine all surviving males I found the mention of hand washing, sold out hand sanitizer, conspiracy theories, financial markets crashing and hospitals being overwhelmed a bit eerie and very prescient.The writing is edgy, and I especially liked the parts where Billy sociopath sister is high on drugs while trying to catch up to Cole and Miles, as I felt like I was deep under the influence myself The author uses a cool trick to point out how chauvinistic some of us are still in our thinking, by always mentioning a job description before the description of the person, and I found myself having to constantly change my picture to female from male a few sentences after we were introduced to a cop, security guard, taxi driver etc The real issue being addressed in this dystopia is probably women and violence We are still very much programmed to think of women as nurturing even after watching shows like Game of Thrones and Ozark, so the brutality between females feels unnatural and or uncomfortable, but as the one of the characters in Afterland notes But girls haveto prove You have to hit harder, meaner, crueler if you want to step into the Big Men s shoes when the future is going to be female


  3. says:

    By now, a lot of us have read a lot of dystopias featuring sexual politics, often accompanied with some major disaster that leaves women a huge minority The Book of Etta or The White Plague or any number of bigger named modern authors This one flips the script Men are seriously endangered The few men left must deal with the patriarchy of women Yes, patriarchy Because let s face it, patriarchies are learned All told, I loved the worldbuilding There are a lot of great easter eggs and By now, a lot of us have read a lot of dystopias featuring sexual politics, often accompanied with some major disaster that leaves women a huge minority The Book of Etta or The White Plague or any number of bigger named modern authors This one flips the script Men are seriously endangered The few men left must deal with the patriarchy of women Yes, patriarchy Because let s face it, patriarchies are learned All told, I loved the worldbuilding There are a lot of great easter eggs and the research for the plague itself was brilliant The characterizations of Cole and Billy and Miles was pretty fantastic It reads like a convoluted cat and mouse, being on the run from the government and even from themselves.My only real concern is not a dealbreaker, but a personal preference The religious bits were fascinating and weird and well thought out BUT it wasn t exactly to my taste Or maybe it was, but where it eventually led was weird Maybe that s a product of having read soooo many dystopias where religion gets funky automatically, but I ll give Afterland this it doesn t go the same direction as the rest All told, I DO love the whole After Man take on the world It sdown to earth and pretty damn realistic compared to, say, The Power Afterland ischaracter led I m glad I got to read it


  4. says:

    3.5 starsI have read most of Lauren Beukes s books and loved all of them She has always had this undefinable element to her stories that made them stand out From the bizzaro world of Zoo City to the creepy thriller The Shining Girls The fact that she is a fellow South African made reading her unique books evenof a treat.With this latest installment however, I struggled to get completely lost in the story.There is not one glaring specific thing that bothered me just a few things that nig 3.5 starsI have read most of Lauren Beukes s books and loved all of them She has always had this undefinable element to her stories that made them stand out From the bizzaro world of Zoo City to the creepy thriller The Shining Girls The fact that she is a fellow South African made reading her unique books evenof a treat.With this latest installment however, I struggled to get completely lost in the story.There is not one glaring specific thing that bothered me just a few things that niggled in my periphery while reading.This is a world where 90% of men have been wiped out by a virus that targets only men and cause fatal cancer Any remaining males are hoarded into secure facilities and tested on like lab rats.In this world women had to step in the void left by men, and it was bothersome that most of these women were portrayed as nothingthan men with vaginas Some of these characters reminded me of the main protagonist in Artemis, she wasmale than some men I know.If you take out the post apocalyptic theme of the story and replaced it with, say a woman running away from an abusive partner, 75% of the story would still be the same.Its not a bad story and I do not want to discourage anyone from reading it, but I think my expectations were sky high


  5. says:

    I received a copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for a review. Mulholland Books has also advised me that a positive review requires me to disclose that I received the book for free from them and since I generally mean three stars in a positive way, there we go Thank you Mulholland Books Cole flees across the U.S with her son Miles in Beukes s apocalypse, which features a highly contagious flu that mutates into prostate cancer and has killed off an estimated 3.2 billion carriers of the XY c I received a copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for a review. Mulholland Books has also advised me that a positive review requires me to disclose that I received the book for free from them and since I generally mean three stars in a positive way, there we go Thank you Mulholland Books Cole flees across the U.S with her son Miles in Beukes s apocalypse, which features a highly contagious flu that mutates into prostate cancer and has killed off an estimated 3.2 billion carriers of the XY chromosome They re on the run from Cole s sister Billie, who s been offered a lot of money for anything and everything one of the few remaining young men in the country can provide to the highest bidder even those things to which a twelve year old cannot consent, ahem This is a nailbiter right up until the last few pages during the last third I d read a chapter, get up and pace around for a few minute to wring my hands, then read another chapter, rinse, repeat Herein lies a fine case for gender diversification in every industry, and though of course the mass death is terrible, the true horror at the center of this is the mundane process by which children grow up, how they pull away and stop needing their parents, how necessary and good and heart breaking that is


  6. says:

    While I liked and even admired parts of Afterland, as a whole it was largely unsatisfying That may sayabout me than the book, so take my reservations with a grain of salt, but let me explain.First off, this was a book that largely ignored the half of the story I d hoped would be its focus This is largely Cole s story, the story of a mother on the run with her child, desperate to get home and just as desperate to avoid dealing with her violence against her sister All of that is fine, and While I liked and even admired parts of Afterland, as a whole it was largely unsatisfying That may sayabout me than the book, so take my reservations with a grain of salt, but let me explain.First off, this was a book that largely ignored the half of the story I d hoped would be its focus This is largely Cole s story, the story of a mother on the run with her child, desperate to get home and just as desperate to avoid dealing with her violence against her sister All of that is fine, and Lauren Beukes does a solid job of exploring a mother s love, but it was Miles story that I was interested in He s one of the last males in the world, forced to disguise himself as a girl during their flight, with his struggle compounded by the advent of puberty There was so much potential there, so many issues of gender and sexuality that could have been explored, but aside from a few passages on shaving and erections, he s really just a package to be delivered.Second, there s a fascinating new world here, one where the men are gone, leaving women to rebuild society without them, but we don t get to see a lot of what that entails I wanted to knowabout the new family dynamics, the new relationships, and the new society of women helping, loving, supporting women We get glimpses of that new world, but most of them are either dark and sordid, as seen through the eyes of Billie, an opportunistic, greedy, unbalanced woman with a concussion I suspect hope that was deliberate on Beukes s part, stuck between either suggesting women are hopeless without men or undermining Cole s story by exploring how strong and resilient women can be, but I feel like an entire novel existed beneath this.Finally, this was a book that felt light to me in many ways, superficial and safe where it could have been, could have said, so muchIn skimming over the gender issues and the women s issues, restricting the narrative to the journey of a mother one that wouldn t be much different if it had zombies or vampires or abusive husbands behind it it misses so many opportunities At the same time, that lightness leaves us with a soft ending that comes far too quickly, far too easily, without the kind of significance it could have had It almost feels unfinished, like the first chapter of a longer story.With all that said, there were aspects of this that I enjoyed The concept of a viral cancer is an interesting one, and there s a great deal of fascinating detail on how it progresses, how it kills, and how the world disposes ofbodies than it can handle The post apocalyptic roadtrip aspect is exceptionally well done, with Cole and Miles struggling with gas shortages, smartly exploring abandoned communities, and dealing with a religious cult that I foundcomical than chilling although there is an attempt towards the end to find some meaning in their mission.As a story of a mother s journey, Afterland was an okay read, and as a post apocalyptic roadtrip it had its moments, but as a book about sex and gender and the consequences of the manpocalypse, I found it lacking, just not the book I d hoped it would be.https femledfantasy.home.blog 2020


  7. says:

    Lauren Beukes is such an amazing author


  8. says:

    Purchase request submitted to library 3 7 19.


  9. says:

    I read this fast, one sitting and whilst I m a fan of this author as my previous higher ratings will show for some reason, despite speeding through it, Afterland never really hit the mark for me.It had nothing to do with skill Lauren Beukes has always written in a quirky, engaging style that hugely appeals to me and so it was here But for me one of the huge bonuses of reading a Beukes novel is her particular brand of storytelling, it s never quite like anyone else s and her plotting and shee I read this fast, one sitting and whilst I m a fan of this author as my previous higher ratings will show for some reason, despite speeding through it, Afterland never really hit the mark for me.It had nothing to do with skill Lauren Beukes has always written in a quirky, engaging style that hugely appeals to me and so it was here But for me one of the huge bonuses of reading a Beukes novel is her particular brand of storytelling, it s never quite like anyone else s and her plotting and sheer creative imagination is often second to none Afterland was a novel that yes, did have an interesting premise men dead women rebuilding the rare male left on the planet valued above all else but failed to deliver in the normal way Subjectively speaking obviously The mother son relationship was well drawn but the depth to the problem he was facing having to dress and act as a girl felt surface level only There s a side plot with the sister that was promising but became predictable and there really wasn t a lot to provoke thought It was kind of Stephen King apocalyptic but without the King magic.I m a little disappointed but you know Even favourite authors occasionally throw out a book I m not fond of but it s usually only one I guess in this case it s this one.I ll look forward to the next instead And to end on a positive note if you like post apocalyptic tales with a strong feminist slant this may well be something you d enjoy


  10. says:

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.I love dystopian fiction and this book was fantastic It was very original The characters were great, very realistic I thought the ending was perfect Great book


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