Sunday, September 12, 2010
THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE
by Carla Buckley - available in bookstores
Ann and Peter Brooks are just a regular unhappily married couple with two children. Newly separated, Ann is an art teacher at her daughters' school and Peter is a university researcher working on an NIH grant.
Peter quickly discovers a virulent strain of avian flu that has begun to spread throughout the United States. Called H5N1, this deadliest form of bird flu kills fifty percent of those infected. The ensuing change in the landscape of every part of life is frightening. Schools are closed and all public gatherings suspended. People are urged to stay indoors in their own homes. Gasoline and food are quickly in short supply as people begin to hoard what they can and fight over what they need. A weeks' long power outage following a winter storm makes everything even more difficult, compounding the isolation and fear. Peter is forced to return to the family home with his research assistant whom Ann fears is his lover.
I don't know why, but I love disaster books and movies. I enjoyed THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE even though it's more women's fiction than science fiction. The author's depictions of the growing crisis and Ann's insistence on trying to keep at least a semblance of normality for her daughters are good. Her characterizations are not as strong, but all in all it was a nice book to read.