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A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World: A Novel Hardcover – April 23, 2019
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From the Publisher
From School Library Journal
"[A] heart-and gut-wrenching tale of a post-apocalyptic world....A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World takes a memorable journey of loyalty and love and transforms it into an unraveling mystery of self-discovery and exploration....This is the story of trust and loyalty within a family, and finding your own pack-even if they're different from the pack you were born into."―Bookpage
"The hunt for Jess propels this story forward like a rocket, and Fletcher does a masterful job keeping the stakes high and the suspense crackling while still creating plenty of space for readers to get to know Griz and explore this fascinating not-quite-empty world. This unputdownable story has everything-a well-imagined post-apocalyptic world, great characters, incredible suspense, and, of course, the fierce love of some very good dogs."―Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"Fletcher writes with an elegantly descriptive style, one that brings this melancholic world to bittersweet life....Whether it's the rusting remains of an amusement park, or the dusty floors of a tucked away sanctuary, Fletcher makes the reader feel like they're standing there, right beside Griz, desperate to find out where to go next."―Lightspeed
"A sharp, meditative exploration of family, loyalty, and humanity amid the lonely but beautiful wilderness of the end of the world-but with a gut punch you'll never see coming. You'll remember A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World long after you finish reading."―Peng Shepherd, author of The Book of M
"If you read one book this year, I beg you that this be the one. A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World will break your heart in all the right ways."―Nerd Daily
"Epic in scope, enthralling, and full of human warmth."―M.R. Carey, author of The Girl With All the Gifts
"This novel has everything I love about a story: fully realized characters, beautiful writing, and utterly believable, even frightening, world-building. I promise you're going to love it."―Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches
"Fletcher's narrative...has a propulsive and engaging rhythm and should please fans of postapocalyptic dystopias, young adult and adult alike."―Booklist
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What a gem. Could not wait to get back to this book every time I had to put it down. I felt anxiety, despair, rage, wonder, all of it. Also -- I confess -- there were times I wanted to choke the author. The tension! But trust: whenever you think you know what's going on or what's going to happen -- you don't. No, really, you don't. Not just once or twice, either. I got over that whole author-choking thing and moved on to hoping for a sequel. I didn't want to leave this world, which is an odd thing to say about a post-apocalyptic world, but there it is.
I enjoyed things in this book that normally annoy me: 1. first-person POV, 2. child or teen who goes off half-cocked against adults'/parents' sage advice only to end up in risky situations. (It's a mom thing, can't shake it.) But the first-person worked so well here, and I loved Griz's character. My judgy inner-mom wasn't even activated, so I could just get behind Griz and be along for the ride.
I especially loved the scenes that described a character experiencing for the first time something that we, today, take for granted. I was going to quote a couple of those here because they're just captured so beautifully, but I don't even want to spoil that for future readers. Those scenes were a delight. In that same vein, things that Griz wondered about our world were also interesting. I found myself thinking about all this afterward, noticing and appreciating simple, everyday things in my own life. What sights, sounds, and tastes would I miss?
I highlighted so many places in this book. The writing is gorgeous and still lingers. This is one that I will read again, which is quite rare for me. Fabulous characters and story. I would love to see the author explore this world some more.
Audio: I combined reading with audio (you know, so the story could continue when I had to physically put the book down to do inconvenient things like cook or feed my own dog), and was impressed that the author did his own audio narration. Well done! I like it when the narrator's voice lets you fall into the story without being constantly distracted by the voice itself.
Added later: I went to start another book today and discovered I feel resentful and mopey that this book is over.
There’s a foretaste of this early in the story, when Griz and his dog follow a rat into a large church crowded with images of suffering that repel him. “There was too much pain in the statues, too much relish in the way they were made…. It felt like the sculptors had made the statues with a real liking for the hurt of being nailed to that cross. Maybe that’s my ignorance rather than their fault. Maybe loving the pain is a thing that made sense if you believed in invisible things like this god.”
Later on Griz finds shelter in a cottage that is opposite in every way: completely intact, with an attached greenhouse filled with wonderful fruits the kid has never tasted before; and inside, it is fully stocked with useful items, including a Victrola on which hears orchestral music for the first time and ragtime. All of this has been deliberately prepared by the couple who lived there and are long dead. They leave a note saying as much, inviting visitors to enjoy the place where they spent so many happy years. And their bones still do! Don’t mind us, we’re upstairs in the bathroom, the note says. Griz goes upstairs and finds the couple in the tub, where they cut their wrists together, surrounded by flowers, candles, and a bottle of wine.
Such a good death, no? Maybe to sentimental atheists who say things like, gods are “just stories to make sense of lives of those who wanted someone else to take charge of them, rather than cut their own way.”
Top international reviews
Charmingly told by a character that you will struggle to get out of your head, A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is a triumph of originality. And just writing this review has once again stirred those emotions I felt whilst reading it. Loved it, loved it, LOVED IT!!
Very highly recommended by me!
It is, however, firmly a young-adult book, with childish tropes and plot lines to match. The writing is frequently cliched and "cookie cutter" in thought and structure. For example, every five pages or so the author defaults to a tacky tabloid story telling method, saying something akin to "It was a very good day. Until it wasn't." Seriously, this method for building suspense (a poor-man's alternative to actually suspenseful writing) happens AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN, sometimes with slight variations ("I was so glad to find this item. But I didn't know that it would ultimately be my downfall!") and greatly cheapens the experience. For the atrocious writing style alone I can only give it three stars.
I loved the characters and the descriptions of an abandoned, neglected UK, and it was refreshing to see a book like this set in the UK and not America. Talking about walking the length of the M1 and the various landmarks on the way was somehow very homely.
If I had to criticise it I'd say that around halfway through the narrative gets a little repetitive and feels overdone, but stick with it because it gets better again. I also found the ending a little too neat, but I sat there in an emotional mess for about 5 minutes afterwards all the same.
I don't want to give away any of the story, but if you like quirky books as I do, you must read this one.
Only one issue I had, any maybe it's me missing something, but if you have to sail from the Outer Hebrides to Norfolk, why go down the West Coast which would take you all around Britain? Why not cut across Scotland at the top and then down the Channel? North Sea issue maybe?
Despite the post apocalyptic theme it was genuinely original and avoided a lot of the cliches that can be found in that genre and was very well written.
I would thoroughly recommend this book and would love to have a sequel !
The book did this by realistic character development. Most characters were neither totally evil nor totally saintly but nuanced to greater or lesser degrees in between. Motives for their actions were explained and this provided the ongoing background narrative. The plot was therefore revealed in a realistic way, dependant on the character of the narrator, a teenage boy. Scenes were viewed in the eyes of a teenager who had not previously travelled away from home but who had a number of practical skills to draw on.
All of this built up to a truly surprising ending but also left me with an longing to be part of a world, which although dystopian, lonely and almost devoid of modern conveniences, was also rather lovely.
This book is truly deserving of its 5 stars, to the extent that it has changed how I will rate future books. I have rated previous books with 5 stars but now realise that most of them don't come close to this one - certainly none have bettered it - and I almost feel as if I should return to them just to amend their ratings. But no, they were rated without this book as a comparison. Future books will have a higher standard to which to attain. So far, this is one of the best books I have ever read!
Sparsely written, reminded me a wee bit of Cormack McCarthy... Dark in places, you can't help but think you might know how it's going to end, but you really don't until the final couple of pages.