By Sigrid Nunez
From the back of the book:
In the wake of a flue pandemic that has ravaged much of the U.S., orphaned thirteen-year-old Cole Vining is taken into the home of an evangelical pastor and his young wife. In isolated Salvation City, the small southern Indiana town where they live, Cole feels sheltered and deeply loved, yet still an outsider. His new world is starkly different from the secular one in which he was raised, and he must struggle to understand as everything he has ever known is now challenged.
Just my opinion:
Coming of age novels are always quite interesting to me and I especially enjoy looking at how the author approaches this issue. Salvation City presents a new twist to the topic as we watch a boy grow into a young man in the wake of a flu pandemic that killed his parents.
Cole is a character you easily learn to like and sympathize with. He is raised in a rather lenient household with progressive parents who care very deeply for him, although they have some difficultly showing their love at times. After their deaths, he is sent to an orphanage where the other children can often be quite cruel. He is finally adopted by a preacher and his wife, who come to love him very much and are willing to show and tell him that.
As he goes through puberty and learns to adapt to his new surroundings, his story gets more and more complex.
This is a fascinating tale that looks at how different the world could be following an epidemic of radical proportions. The author does an excellent job of portraying the changing world and the effect it has on those who survive.
It’s a great read and one I didn’t want to put down. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book and I hope you get a chance to read it.
Some favorite passages from the book:
The best way to remember people after they’ve passed it so remember the good about them.
We’re all going to die, that’s for certain. And the thing for folks to do is stop wasting their energy being all headless and fearful like a herd of spooked cattle.
When it came to spreading infection, they were informed, they themselves—school kids—were the biggest culprits.
It’s not like every other bad thing stopped happening to make room for the flu. People are still getting cancer and having heart attacks and strokes and road accidents. The idea that we could handle any kind of surge on top of that—whoever’s fantasy that was, it was never going to happen.
Nothing sadder than a bunch of Christians trying to prove they’re every bit as hip as the lost.
Sometimes when things turn out this way, survival can feel like betrayal.
Outside the light was pale. The sky looked low and as fragile as eggshell, as if a rock hurled hard enough could smash it.