This is the story of a slow, vague apocalypse. Grocery deliveries disappearing. Dust everywhere. One more day, and another day after that, with a partner who cannot bear to be with you. It’s hard, heavy reading; not particularly fun, but nevertheless rewarding. One gets the feeling that the author exorcised a lot of Covid-pandemic demons in the writing of the story, even if it is not a pandemic story, strictly speaking. There’s a lot to relate to in this.
I found this a confusing read, constantly having to scroll back up to connect names to characters, referents to pronouns; it took me more than two pages before I discovered that “Shardon” is the name of a settlement, not of a person. I think I could have enjoyed this more if the set-up and structure had been clearer from the start.
Content note: Death.
To listen to the song of the bluebells “was to succumb to a slow madness,” but this doesn’t prevent Old Woman Achan from going out every morning to listen to them, trying to escape an even worse fate. In the end, it almost feels like she’s taken the coward’s way out, and for that reason I found the story emotionally unsatisfactory.