Former McSweeney's online editor Shay travels in his debut novel to the now-stale heart of late-'90s political hysteria and pre-millennial angst. The "end" of the title refers to the End of the World as We Know It (TEOTWAWKI for short), the global meltdown that is to occur as a result of the unchecked Y2K computer crisis. Randall Knight, a former elementary school teacher, quits his job and tours the country as a roving puppeteer, hoping to make others believe in the impending computer-related doomsday. Shay puts the reader in the quixotic situation of rooting for a protagonist whose every action is in the service of a supremely puerile cause; as Randall crisscrosses the U.S. in search of allies, running headlong from his own problems into the maw of an imagined global catastrophe, it's hard not to feel his pain (in the words of another presence whose then-current impeachment trial haunts this book). If the book ends with more of a whimper than a bang, perhaps that is only to be expected in a novel about an impending but never-arriving tragedy. (Dec.)
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Praise for The End as I Know It
“The End as I Know It is a smart, funny, disturbing and, yes, charming novel that had me waxing nostalgic for the not-so-long-ago days when a simple digital anomaly was the only thing vying for attention in the pantheon of Things That Scare the Living Crap Out of Me.”
—James P. Othmer, author of The Futurist
“Kevin Shay brilliantly mines tension from the gap between the fears of 1999 and the reality of Y2K, and he does it with incredible humor and heart. The End as I Know It is a funny, profound, effortless book.”
—Kevin Guilfoile, author of Cast of Shadows
"After reading just a few pages of The End As I Know It, I knew that I did not want it to end. Kevin Shay is a wonderfully funny novelist, a creator of deft (sometimes daft) comic moments, and his story is completely irresistible."
—Sean Wilsey, bestselling author, Oh the Glory of It All
"Kevin Shay has come up with a funny, twisted, razor-sharp lens with which to view the very distant recent past. The End as I Know It will leave you laughing, and refusing to cry. A deeply rewarding journey for anyone who may have felt like the only American without the requisite bright future in America, circa 1999 — the only ones certain we weren't worth a million on paper. The party in America has been over for seemingly as long as one can remember, but then Kevin Shay turns up like your only friend who took the right kind of pictures. And somehow you feel better."
—Dan Kennedy, Author of Loser Goes First
I enjoyed this book, both for the period details of the Y2K era, as well as for the humor and touching details of the plot. Overall, it was a fun read!Published 20 months ago by Acctprof
The writing was such that it seemed to come from someone who was illiterate. I somewhat got an idea of the plot but it was rather confusing. Read morePublished on June 5, 2013 by David H Kraft