Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Things That Keep Us Here, by Carla Buckley

The best and most disturbing yet of the recent wave of flu pandemic fiction I've read. Ann, a school art teacher, and Peter, an animal disease researcher, separated about a year before H5N1 begins mutating. Their daughters, Kate and Libby, and one of Peter's grad students, Egyptian Shazia, hole up in what had been the family home, before the separation. As the pandemic reaches level 4, and then 5, the gradual sense of claustrophobia and panic creeps up, and the moral choices that people in these situations are presented with are illustrated in their full horror, while still showing the hope that humans can, even under the worst conditions, act on the side of the angels, risking all to help.
This was fantastic, and absolutely haunting- has me checking the CDC all over again.
Wonderful- even better than Laura Kasiscke's In A Perfect World and much more solidly plotted and imagined than Michelle Wildgen's But Not For Long.

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