The apocalypse

The end of days: It Lasts Forever And Then It’s Over, by Anne de Marcken, reviewed

How do you picture the end of days? ‘When I was alive, I imagined something redemptive about the end of the world,’ muses the unnamed narrator in It Lasts Forever And Then It’s Over. ‘I thought it would be a kind of purification. Or at least a simplification. Rectification through reduction.’ But no: ‘The end of the world looks exactly the way you remember. Don’t try to picture the apocalypse. Everything is the same,’ she continues from her vantage point in an afterlife, brought into vivid existence by Anne de Marcken. It’s telling that the author’s biography states that she ‘lives in the United States on unceded land of the

The last battle: The Future, by Naomi Alderman, reviewed

The sirens sound in the street. The lockdown order comes. The images on the television are of chaos and illness, total societal collapse. The apocalypse is here, and where are the rich? Already holed up in their survival compounds, ready to ride out the end of the world before emerging to take control of what’s left of it for themselves. Billionaire preppers and their plans for Bond-villain bunkers have now pervaded the public imagination to the extent that this year we have two novels dealing with the phenomenon. First there was Eleanor Catton’s Birnam Wood, which took inspiration from Peter Thiel’s efforts to build a bunker in New Zealand. Now,

Escape from reality: How to Survive Everything, by Ewan Morrison, reviewed

Ewan Morrison is an intellectually nimble writer with a penchant for provocation. His work has included the novels, Distance, Ménage and Swung, which looked at the conditions of desire, normality and love under capitalism, and a hybrid collection of essays, reportage and fiction, Tales From the Mall. This new novel forms the final part of a loose trilogy, which is concerned with various forms of eccentric utopias. Close Your Eyes involved a spiritual commune with strict rules; Nina X was an uplifting book about a young woman freed from a Maoist cult and bemused by modernity. How to Survive Everything is narrated by teenage Haley, who has been abducted, along