The Last Man on Earth Club

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Last Man on Earth Club
Paul R. Hardy, 2011

Premise: There are many Earths. Parallel worlds. The Interversal Union is an organization which travels between many of these worlds, and unfortunately one of their largest responsibilities is the relocation of refugees. With so many Earths, there are endless ways for humanity to be killed, or to destroy itself. Asha is a therapist who works for the Refugee Service, and her current assignment is unusual, even for her line of work. She is put in charge of a group therapy project for six individuals. Each one is the last survivor of their species. Each one's situation is unique, but she's hoping the little they have in common will allow her to help them. But can even the most well-intentioned therapist help the last person on Earth?

This was a fascinating book, completely original and totally intriguing. I liked the structure, in which the reader only really knows what Asha knows, and you have to draw your own further conclusions. Each patient has secrets, each has problems. The mysteries are fantastic, and form the core of the plot. Who is sneaking out of the facility and why? Who is actually suicidal and who actually wants help? Who isn't who they say they are? What really happened on each Earth?

I don't want to say much more about it, because discovering the array of worlds that the characters come from is a lot of the fun of this book. I hope it will suffice to say that many sci-fi and apocalyptic tropes are played with over the different Earths.

The characters have very individual voices, and each has a journey to make over the course of the book. Where each journey leads, whether it is to healing or not, is incredibly compelling. Each mystery revealed seems to pose further questions. Also, Asha has problems of her own that come out eventually.

The way the chapters are laid out is a little choppy at times, although it is always clear what is going on. The book is a good length, but doesn't drag at all.

Overall,  The Last Man on Earth Club is an engaging read, and I really enjoyed it.

4 Stars – A Very Good Book

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