ETIQUETTE FOR AN APOCALYPSE by Anne Mendel-a review
ETIQUETTE FOR AN APOCALYPSE by Anne Mendel
ETIQUETTE FOR AN APOCALYPSE (April 2012) is a novel written in the dystopian/science fiction genre that follows the Cohen family as they endeavor to survive in the post-apocalyptic world of 2023.
2020 saw the world enter into an apocalyptic nightmare. In the wake of earthquakes, floods and volcanoes those that survived had to endure solar black-outs, famine, cholera and an assortment of frenzied and fevered paranoia. Without the aid of government direction, those that somehow survived were left on their own to seek out some form of existence. But like all forms of ‘war’, anarchy ruled and those that had the resources, were now the one’s in control.
Sophie Cohen has found a way to survive. With the help of her neighborhood condo tenants, Sophie organized a daily exchange ‘market’ for anything from food to string, metal to cloth. And the most important aspect of life is the survival of her little eccentric family. Drug running was never Sophie’s intended goal in life, but as a former social worker, her skills were never readily accepted in the nightmare world of starvation and gun-toting neighborhood watches. As her husband Bertrand continued his daily commutes to offer what little aid as a physician that he was able, Sophie’s brother continued to design the medications necessary to ease the pain of those slowly succumbing to the exposure and injuries. But when Bertrand discovers a number of ‘heartless’ women piling up outside the hospital doors, Sophie and her husband take it upon themselves to investigate the possibility of a serial killer in their midst.
The condo cast of characters is a wide-ranging as the colors in a box of crayons. Each with their own specialty and ability, the condo residents combine what little they have in order for each to survive. But when word is out that the Cohen’s have stirred the ire of those in control, it is not only the Cohen family that is at risk for exposure. Sophie and her husband are soon swept into an underground world of armed guards, artillery stockades, food hoarding and the control of both physical and solar power. 3 years without power has left the country without food, clean water or the ability to heat their homes. And whoever has control of the source of power will have the ultimate control of the people.
Finding themselves at the center of a war, Sophie and Bertrand must face the possibility that their small group of family and friends may have survived the apocalypse but not necessarily survive this war. Those in power will use any means possible including murder, to secure their place at the top of the struggle for power. And it is Sophie’s family that will suffer one of the first losses of life.
Sophie’s social skills are soon put to the test when she is called upon to as an emissary between the powerful factions hoping to gain control of the power sources within the city. But when her daughter disappears, Sophie soon finds herself awash in the knowledge that perhaps it is too late-that getting involved may have caused more pain and suffering to those she loves the most. With one last journey and the directive of the underground clan, Sophie will embark on a life and death mission that will reveal the ultimate source of power that everyone has been in search (of).
Etiquette for an Apocalypse is written in first person POV from the perspective of Sophie Cohen. Once a wife, a daughter and a mother of two, the former social worker traverses the harrowing streets of a desolate city that only comes alive at night with a shower of gunfire and the threatening force of the gangs. There are two rival factions, who have everything including the power, but it is the fight for the power, that will eventually result in a calm settling over their tiny group of friends. Anne Mendel writes an interesting story that forewarns there is a very distinct possibility that life as we know it could end up an apocalyptic nightmare.
But…don’t misunderstand…there is plenty of sarcastic humor from Sophie as she comments on the various characters that she has learned to call her friends. Reading from the first person POV is a wonderful addition by Mendel, because without the running commentary of a well-meaning, albeit sarcastic heroine, the reader is never drowning in pages of anxiety or fear. Experiencing life in an apocalyptic world is tempered by a former social-worker hoping to keep her family and condo friends together for another day. An interesting look at Survival 101.
Copy supplied by publisher
Reviewed by Sandy