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After the Pretty Pox: The Attic (Volume 1) Paperback – July 11, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
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EDITORS' PICK Autumn/Winter 2016
After the Pretty Pox: The Attic is the first ever Editors' Pick from our editorial panel at e-scribes.com. It blew us away!
When we receive submissions for consideration for an editorial review, rarely do we find several editorial reviewers--working for 'big five'publishers in their day jobs--proclaiming the book one of the best theyever read. That's what happened here.
As one of those reviewers, I found my heart in my mouth, every sense almost frighteningly awakened. I had a deep desire to run into the street andtell everyone they must, must read it.
I don't recall ever having such a strong feeling about a book before, in fact. It stole my heart and imagination.
While many post-apocalyptic novels cleverly portray the visual andenvironmental devastation and the friction of the relationships andstruggles ensuing, After the Pretty Pox: The Attic shows the deeply personal, gentle-paced, introspective sense of isolation and human suffering and then the overcoming of it.
Characters come alive with sentience; you can almost reach and hold them, and infact, you'll wish you could do so, to fold the suffering ones in yourarms and deliver them to safety.
To try and describe the book's story line and contents would be to do a disservice, because for us,this book is about everything; it's about each of us and the world we know--or, at least, the one thought we did.
The language used is strikingly, hauntingly beautiful, relatively formalprose perfectly selected;in places, we found this a literary work ofart, and we devoured and savoured each sentence while holding fast ontothe next breath, hardly daring to exhale.
After the Pretty Pox: The Attic is a wordsmith's feast, yet there is nothing pretentious about thisnovel; its words ripple through the reader's mind like a calm stream,free of hyperbole and unnecessary affect. It does not need to trytoo hard; we find it sublime as it stands.
A truly incredible,inspirational book and a feat of literary achievement, at e-Scribes, we all consider this is an outstanding, thought-provoking, self-questioning must-read.
After the Pretty Pox: The Attic is the first in a series; while we find it stands alone, on its own merit, we will devour the second with equal relish.
About the Author
August Ansel is the pen name (and alter ego) of author Carla Baku. It’s August who is forever wedging beloved dog-eared novels by Shirley Jackson, Peter Straub, and Joe Hill in among the works of Toni Morrison and Tobias Wolff. Working from a tiny garret overlooking the lovely Myrtle Grove Cemetery, August prefers to write novels longhand while sipping bitterly strong tea and wearing an atrocious pair of bedroom slippers. Readers are most welcome to peruse all August Ansel books at www.carlabaku.com, and to follow on Facebook and Twitter: @augustansel.
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Looking forward to the next installment in this series!
The world is gone. A plague called Pink has wiped out all but a tiny percentage of people, and the survivors have been reduced to scavenging and dangerous behavior. Ari, (female), has lived in the attic of her grandparents' home for almost two years, since the plague began. Having run away from her father's cult at fifteen, she is content to be alone.
However, much to her surprise and annoyance, she finds herself with a brother she has never met and a young woman with a terrible injury. As she collects others she becomes the target of a petty dictator holed up in the local school. The confluence of these people changes her life.
When we are introduced to Ari, she is an older woman in her 60's. She has made a small but safe home for herself and is content to be alone after fleeing her large, loud family. Having lived alone after her Grandmother dies, then after the plague, she doesn't realize she is missing human companionship until her brother finds her. Once she has people back in her life, she longs for her peace and silence again. This dichotomy, wanting and not wanting, defines her character.
Ari and her eventual companions are neatly described. The reader is able to follow as each character changes in reaction to actions and environment without feeling that important information has accidently been left off the page. The plot moves smoothly, without tedious over description or multiple plot devices. As the primary point of view is Ari's, and she practices a kind of zen, the story avoids the hysteria often present in end of the world books.
This reader found the book a pleasant, quick read with characters one easily becomes invested in. The lack of conspiracies, hysteria and zombies, makes this an unusual apocalypse story.
It is interesting that although Arie ran away from her previous life, she still seems to believe in many of its rituals.
She has quite ingeniously survived by setting up a secret space for herself. She has been alone for a few years until her younger brother shows up one day and wants her to come home with him. Arie is 52 and her brother is around 30. She never met him before. He brings along another character with him and she reluctantly allows them into her life. Another character shows up and, again, she lets him into their little world. Before she knows it and against all she believes about herself, she finds she likes having people around and they become almost like a little family.
They make plans to leave Arie's home to travel to the home she left years ago, but she doesn't plan to go with them. There are some people who come along to complicate both her plans and her companions' plans and that is pretty much where this book end.
At one point, one of the characters says they have to travel forty miles, which will be a difficult journey and take them weeks. That made me think about how much we take things for granted. Today, if we have to travel forty miles, we get in the car and are there in about an hour. How many of us could make a forty mile journey--on foot--in the winter?
This was an interesting book. Arie is a complicated woman, but we still have much to learn about her past. Sometimes the prose seems flowery and old-fashioned and was not easy to get through because it seemed to take pages to say what could have been said in paragraphs. That mostly changes when other people come into Arie's life and maybe represents her life--how time passes slowly for her, as she is alone with only her memories in a destroyed world.
I liked the book, and I want to read the next installment, but it did move a bit slowly. There were a few times I passed through multiple pages without reading them all because I just wanted to get on with the story. That's really my only criticism. The author paints a realistic portrait (I think and never hope to find out) of a post-apocalyptic world that Arie seems to like and fit into better than the old world.
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My spouse recently complained that so many post apocalyptic stories tend to center around the same types of people: young (late teens to...Read more