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Salvation City Hardcover – September 16, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Small town life in Indiana was portrayed well, and well-drawn characters are one of the book's strong suits. I did, however, miss the more typical dystopian/post-apocalyptic details of the genre - the pandemic only provides a fragile background for the story, whereas I had expected such a severe experience to, more realistically, drastically alter life and even the way people thought about their society for years afterward. So that aspect of the book felt flat to me. But the coming of age story, the nuanced personalities and relationships of Cole's family and almost-family, is told thoughtfully and sympathetically.
Generally, I found the book to be thought provoking in some of the situations it presented. Are we, and the country, ready for a massive flu pandemic and what would happen if you were to die suddenly? How would you or your children react to being placed in a completely new situation that you are totally unfamiliar with? There are more questions raised, however I would be giving away the plot if I discussed them.
I found the writing, at first, to seem simplistic. The description of the flu pandemic read, to me, like the script from a bad sci-fi movie, yet as the book progressed I was drawn into the story and found it to be gripping and thought provoking. I ended up enjoying the book greatly, and only wished the author hadn't been quite so wild with the description of the pandemic.
Cole Vining was born to atheists (one of whom was formerly Jewish) is orphaned by a flu pandemic and is fostered, during his pubescence, by an evangelical preacher and his cancer-surivivor wife. As Cole grows into adulthood, he deals with issues of love and loss, faith and doubt, and selfishness and selflessness. The author is remarkably even-handed in presenting the "grist" for Cole's "mill" and, while many of the characters are, she is never judgmental. Rather, she leaves Cole to make his own choices, and the reader to respect all the possibilities Cole considers in making those choices.
In the end, the reader is fully in love with each of the characters, accepting all of their wonderful qualities, as well as their significant, but very human, flaws. I was moved deeply. As a result, I will be purchasing and reading other works by Ms. Nunez shortly.
But where is the rest of it? That's the feeling I had when I reached the final page. The final section of the book contains two terrific plot points that should have spun the story into a new direction. Instead, the action just stops, and the book ends. Nothing comes of the two potentially life-changing events. And that's a terrible disappointment - one that comes close to making me wish I hadn't bothered to read the book in the first place. If you're interested in nuances of character, you may enjoy Salvation City. But if you're looking for a satisfying *story*, my advice would be to try a different book.
In this novel, a flu pandemic has devastated America. Not to the point of collapse--an interesting tack--but enough to impact the typical flow of life. Cole, the young protagonist of this story, has lost his parents and spent a long time being sick himself. After some time in an orphanage, he ends up in Salvation City, dominated by a small Christian sect. He has been taken in by a local minister and his wife. We learn much of what has happened through Cole's memories, as he navigates his new life and environment.
There are strong points to this novel. The plot is clever and Cole is a strong character. However, for a world filled with difficulties and occasional horrors, again Nunez has produced something fairly bland. I was not pulled along by the story as I hoped I would be and I was left cold by the ending. I know Nunez is admired by some, but her style does not appeal to me, even when she has a strong plot.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like all of Sigrid Nunez' writing. I think this is a very good novel. It is less autobiographical than some of the others.Published 13 months ago by Catherine S. Cline
Salvation City is a well written novel with a compelling premise. It's not the first time that I've read a novel combining a coming of age tale with the end of the world, but this... Read morePublished on August 5, 2014 by J.Prather
Such a well-written novel that engages the reader from beginning to end with the complicated conditions of relationships and change during all our lifetimes.Published on May 26, 2014 by Jane Cocke Perdue
I found the story interesting but it did not keep me as entertained as I had hoped. I had hoped for a more exciting ending, it was a bit of a let down.Published on May 24, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Full disclosure dear reader... I didn't make it all the way through this book. That's very rare for me... once I make it half way into a book, I don't usually abandon it... Read morePublished on April 7, 2013 by Goldengate
The first few chapters of "Salvation City" felt pointedly similar to recent flu outbreaks - reading very much like a scare tactic PSA for emergency preparedness planning- but the... Read morePublished on March 19, 2012 by CACurtis
Thirteen-year-old Cole lives at some point in the near future. The United States, not to mention the rest of the world, has recently been ravaged by a flu pandemic of epic scope... Read morePublished on February 25, 2012 by SusieBookworm (Susanna P)
The flu pandemic has swept away so many lives and has drastically hindered the lives of the ones still breathing. Read morePublished on February 12, 2012 by Lauren
Flu pandemic breaks out and orphans Cole Vining, a thirteen year old boy, and changes the face of America. Read morePublished on January 3, 2012 by Laura Kay