Immobility by Brian Evenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Josef Horkai is woken from cryogenic deep-freeze into a life he can scarcely recognize. The world has been irrevocably altered by a cataclysm known as "the kollaps" and the human race has been reduced to scattered groups or "hives" trying to scratch out an existence from a ruined Earth. Horkai is paralyzed from the waist down, but is told by the mysterious group leader Rasmus that he must go on a mission out into the radioactive wasteland in search of a mysterious cylinder that has been taken by a rival group, and that he is the only one who can get it. He is literally carried on his quest by two "mules", humans bred for strength, but susceptible to the radiation that Horaki is somehow immune to. As they set off into the ruined landscape, Horkai begins to realize that he is being manipulated, and that all is not as it seems. I was enthralled by Evenson's previous book, Last Days, and found this to be similar in some respects. Both the characters and the plot are enigmatic and mysterious with the journey (superficially reminiscent to Cormac McCarthy's The Road) filled with trials and the outcome wholly unexpected. The book also explores issues of religion and fanaticism and their effect on society. Evenson writes really well and the story moves along briskly. It can be a bit of a downer, but Horkai and the characters he meets are quite compelling, and the post-apocalyptic dystopia makes for a haunting and memorable setting.
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