- File Size: 3824 KB
- Print Length: 386 pages
- Publisher: Moonbird Press (April 26, 2014)
- Publication Date: April 26, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00JZ0HLS0
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #994,237 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$14.50|
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In the Shadows of the Mosquito Constellation Kindle Edition
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Ellis goes a step beyond that in Mosquito Constellation. The author takes, as read, that the Apocalypse has occurred. It happened a while back. People have coped. Now what?
The author's strength--and, clearly, her passion for examination--as a writer involve exploring the inner lives of her characters. Her heroine, Natalie, is married to a man she loves on one level but feels trapped by on almost every other. His expectations of her have never particularly made her happy, yet she's tied to him by their children and, oh yeah, there was this Apocalypse thing. Choices beyond merely surviving come at a premium. Now they live on a farm away from what's left of humanity with a community of family and friends and are making it, if just barely. Outside forces, like raiders, threaten the farm's security, but it's the inner conflicts, both within and among the characters, that create the most tension and move the novel's plot along.
Ellis doesn't have to rely on injecting action to wake the reader up because her in-depth understanding of our motivations, weaknesses, and hopes as human beings keep us engaged. We're drawn along by Natalie's internal struggle, her passion for a man other than her husband, and the day-to-day pressures of living in a post-Apocalyptic world as seen through her eyes, as well as from the perspectives of other major characters. People are paranoid, but they want to trust one another. The luxury of easy relationships went out with the electricity. Now, everything about how we treat one another, every aspect of how we relate to the rest of humanity, even loved ones, matters. Everyone's nervous all the time. And yet hope remains. Ellis's well-drawn, relatable characters exemplify her skillful handling of the human condition.
That's not to say that the story is "all interior" and there isn't action. Petty politicians vie for reestablishing power via Chicago-style mob tactics. Exchanging goods is an anxious affair with weapons drawn. Simple illnesses that, at one time, might've kept children home from school for a few days now move "normal people" to consider murdering others to protect their own. This dystopic future isn't pretty; but, Ellis argues, it's survivable.
One of the aspects of the tale I found most intriguing was the author's use of astrological signs and, particularly, tarot cards to frame her story. It's never kitschy or roll-your-eyes New Ageist. Instead, Ellis employs these "signs and portents" as literary devices through which to explore her characters' development. For example, she uses the cards and their meanings as chapter epigraphs to provide a thematic window into each character as his or her individual story, driven by choices both good and bad, unfolds.
It's pretty simple, really: Mosquito Constellation is a book about people, all of whom are more or less suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Apocalypse, when it comes, will suck. But what comes after? Will humanity awaken from the complacency that modern life has lulled us into and persevere, perhaps even rebuild? Or will our own individual, selfish interests pave a road to our eventual extinction? As an exploration of human nature to not only survive but, perhaps, find hope and happiness again, Ellis' book transcends traditional dystopian fiction in a very literary, and readably enjoyable, way.