Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review: PostApoc - Liz Worth

PostApoc by Liz Worth
Review copy provided by NetGalley, on behalf of Now Or Never Publishing 

Ang has long been living as close to death as she can, entranced by the music that seems to be channeling her very thoughts: dedicating her life to dying. When The End finally comes, all acid rain and ravenous dogs, she finds it's not what she expected. As the sole survivor of a suicide pact, she begins to wonder if she is the one who has tipped the universe off balance.

Ang has been broken her whole life, yet somehow the pieces cling together. She lives through this label, "killing time," she says, "until we kill ourselves." She's comes back to Vancouver, not dead, only to see the onset of The End. As the world goes from bizarre to hopeless the irony is painful, it's not far into the novel before Ang begins to question whether she is the reason the apocalypse has happened. Did she survive her suicide only to see the world to it's bitter end? Is this her punishment for not wanting to die enough?

Her life never loses it's mantra of "danger/destruction/detonation", these bands whom she listens to only give a soundtrack, channel the audiences thought, guide them. The anthems only remind her "that living as close to death as possible is the only way to feel alive."

Ang is timeless. A girl of our generation, born however many decades ago, she's a little more than twenty when the world begins to end. She's seeking the oblivion, finds her meaning, and then loses it. When a boy swaying to Shit Kitten's song 'PostApoc' says, "I was made to live in these times," she rolls her eyes. Those lyrics are a frequent thought for her as she reflects and acts. "It's my body and I can die if I want to."

It would be remiss not to mention that Liz Worth is knowledgeable of the punk scene in Toronto. Ang's travails are like bad trips while in the underground music scene or crashing at someone's house, but this is reality and the trips are worse. Her easy flow from dream to hallucination to minimal sobriety makes you question her, but Ang is surprisingly cognizant through the worst. This isn't a trick, Worth isn't out to make you question Ang, since the girl has enough thing she must figure out herself. It's not a train wreck you can't look away from, it's a high descent into the primeval world.

Her relationships are the strings of the story, her life related to strangers, to friends, to ghosts, to herself, always features another participant she was friends or lovers with. These connections, remembering the people who knew you, and now the people you knew who were gone, is all that's left of them. She's all that's left of them, and along the endless days and the sweltering winters, she wants something that keeps her going, to earn her that label of survivor. Because otherwise, she'll die.
This sense of travel, this transcendence of time-space-moments, is what Tooth would say is the result of disrupting the universe. I told him I'm not really supposed to be alive now and he said, "That makes more sense than anything I've ever heard."

I requested this from NetGalley on a whim, it was one of the 'instant-accept' offers they have out all the time, and therefore I was dubious, but liked the cover. It screams of it's intentions. The blurb reminded me of Go Ask Alice from my youth, and upon reading closing it, I was reminded of The Green Witch by Alice Hoffman  which I read when it came out. I wanted to like PostApoc and I ended up loving it. I can't recommend this book to you too much. It's different than the aforementioned young adult books because it's written accurately without spinning out of our grasp. There's a time to write stream of consciousness of dreaming drug addicts and there's a time to write the thoughts of woman in a world going to hell.

Comparisons to those older books written for teenagers just doesn't do PostApoc justice. Someone compared this book to The Naked Lunch, that book which inspired the Beat poets and is still lauded today, but I'm not sure if PostApoc, with its pointedly unanswered questions, isn't better that that. This book is thought-provoking, and has become one of my favorite books. I look forward to revisiting it in the future.


Let me know if you think you will you be reading this book when it comes out. Are there any books you've felt 'woke you up'? Looking forward to your comments on this one, especially if you've read it!

184pp. Now or Never Publishing. 15 Oct 2013.

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