My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I randomly came across this book while I was browsing Amazon and something about the cover and the title intrigued me. I downloaded the sample, and it was incredible, so I went with the full book. I was very glad I did.
I guess this is what is called survivalist fiction. From a plot point of view, this is absolutely nothing new: a pseudo-The Stand type virus has wiped out most of the human race, and the few remaining humans are trying to survive as best they can. What sets The Attic apart is just how well it’s written, and how such a simple story could leave such a deep impression on me.
The main character, Arie, is a fifty-something woman, hiding out in her grandmother’s attic, completely cut off from society, but surviving rather well with her rooftop water tanks and food boxes, plus a selection of goods she’s scavenged. Over the course of a couple of days, a few new people enter her life: her long lost younger brother, Handy, an injured girl, Renna, and a young man, Curran, and his dog, Talus.
All of them have a story to tell, but here is where the book sets itself apart from most indie books I try to read. The vast majority, within a page or so, will then drop a fat info dump something like this: “The plague started six years ago. Waffle waffle, pointless background bullshit, more bullshit no one cares about because we haven’t even got to know the characters yet, ten more paragraphs of boring, uninteresting drivel…” oh, I quit and went on to read something else.
The Attic feeds in only what you need to know and so sparingly that you’re desperate to know what’s going on. August Ansel, or whoever she is behind the pseudonym, is an expert storyteller. This book focuses on the details of the characters rather than the background world, and as a result, you feel their pain, their fears, their hopes. You worry when they don’t come back from the woods.
The Attic is the kind of book that I would carry around with me, take into the toilet, pull out while stuck at traffic lights (on a Kindle, obviously).
Very good, very recommended.