In the grip of apocalypse angst

You have to love a book about the end of the world in which the first two references are to Saul Bellow’s Herzog and the HBO series The White Lotus, a high/low combo that preps us for authorial omniscience. In the next few paragraphs we get Marc Maron, Sally Rooney and Frank Kermode. Buckle up, kids, a cultural whirlwind is coming! The day of judgment is at hand, and the all-knowing Dorian Lynskey, who seems to have doomscrolled through every card catalogue on the planet, is just the person to provide live commentary. A capacious cultural history of ‘apocalyptic angst’, his Everything Must Go will make you happy to be

Murder, suicide and apocalypse: Here Goes Nothing, by Steve Toltz, reviewed

Angus Mooney is dead. Freshly murdered, he’s appalled to find himself in an Afterworld, having always rejected the possibility of life after death. Moreover, he can observe his murderer getting on increasingly well with his innocent widow. Mooney’s Afterworld is a deeply unsatisfactory mixture of computerised bureaucracy and urban chaos. In a landscape undreamed of by Dante, his guide is no cicerone but a woman with a welcoming bed and good contacts in Management, who knows her way around the local drinking spots. The Australian novelist Steve Toltz specialises in the blackest of comedy. His first novel, A Fraction of the Whole, was shortlisted for the Booker in 2008. Here

Apocalypse, Seventies-style: BritBox’s Survivors reviewed

When the apocalypse comes, I want it to be scripted by a 1970s screenwriter. That’s my conclusion after watching the first few episodes of Terry Nation’s landmark 1975 ‘cosy catastrophe’ series Survivors on BritBox. Everything was so much more innocent and charming back then, including the end of the world. Survivors establishes its MacGuffin in the opening credits: a montage which begins with a masked, enigmatic oriental man in a laboratory where he accidentally smashes a vial; we then see clips of him in a suit travelling through various airports, with passport stamps (New York, London, etc) taunting us from the past with just how easy it was back then

The apocalyptic side to English football

It had to end this way. Whatever else we might say about the English weather, it is deeply in tune with the national psyche – the emotions of the people over innumerable generations have taken on the grey, leaden cast of their skies – and there could be no more fitting day after that final than torrential rain and thunder driving the few mournful shadows from the streets. The fact that mere defeat has left our faith in football coming home unshaken can be slightly confusing for foreign observers. While American journalists and the Croatian national team seem to believe it’s a triumphalist brag, we know that it’s about always

And then there were five: The High House, by Jessie Greengrass, reviewed

In 2009 Margaret Atwood published The Year of the Flood, set in the aftermath of a waterless flood, a flu-like pandemic that almost extinguishes human life. Twelve years ago such apocalyptic visions still felt speculative. Today, Jessie Greengrass’s new novel, The High House, imagining a near future in which civilisation is engulfed by an actual watery flood, does not. It feels chillingly inevitable. The author of a prize-winning short story collection and Sight, a novel shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018, Greengrass grew up partly in Devon and lives in Berwick-upon-Tweed. Her affinity with the countryside permeates this book, in which nature is both sublime and implacable. It