I opened my mailbox a few weeks ago and smiled from ear to ear. My friend Liz Worth had mailed me a copy of her new book PostApoc. I was lucky enough to be asked to read the first six chapters or so and give feedback while the book was being put together. So, I had a good idea of how good the book was going to be, but not yet the full grasp of how good it really was.
Sole survivor of a suicide pact, Ang has fallen into an underground music scene obsessed with the idea of the end of the world. But when the end finally does come, Ang and her friends don’t find the liberation they expected. Instead, those still alive are starving, strung out and struggling to survive in a world that no longer makes sense. As Ang navigates the world’s final days, her emotional and physical instability mix with growing uncertainty and she begins to distrust her perception in a place where nothing can ever be trusted for what it seems to be. Bleak and haunting, PostApoc blends poetry and punk rock, surrealism and stark imagery to tell the story of a girl wavering at the edge of her sanity.
Liz is an incredible writer. One of my favorite poets of all time. She sees the world without blinders and when her pen scrolls ink softly across her paper, she doesn’t worry what words she uses. This is one of the hardest things to do as a writer. It takes guts to write this way. To write without fear of what some people might think or say. Anyone can put words together and call themselves a writer but very few have what it takes to pour everything out of them for the world to see.
This being said, I knew I was in for a good read as soon as I started PostApoc. But I didn’t realize the journey of thought it would evoke in me as I turned each page. I soon began to think where would this book fit in a list of other books I’ve read? Page after page, word after word, my mind kept wondering and comparing PostApoc to other books that moved me in the past. I soon realized about halfway through, it was tying for second place on my list of the best fiction I’ve ever read with Harry Crews’ Feast Of Snakes. Number one on my list is Harry Crews’ Scar Lover.
I kept thinking as I read, is it fair to hold Liz’s work up against such literary masterpieces as this? As the perfectly put together paragraphs flowed into my mind I answered, yes it was. This book made it to my list because it stirred every emotion in me. It filled me with creative energy. Made me want to start writing my next book. PostApoc did exactly what the others on the list did to me when I read them. It took me to a world of literature few, very few, have the ability to create. And that is why those works of art are still being read, and discussed to this day.
About three quarters of the way through the book, I started to think about another book on my list, William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. Although, PostApoc is a book with teeth, sharp teeth, like Feast Of Snakes, it also has an unfiltered undertow of dream state terror pulling you into a world few could imagine. Was this what it was like for Allen Ginsberg and other Beat writers to read Naked Lunch for the first time? Seeing something so shockingly honest and creative put out for the world to read. Did the Beats have the same excitement I do now reading PostApoc? Then my mind opened to the possibility that I might be reading our generation’s version of Naked Lunch.
As I turned the last page and read the last words, I came to the conclusion PostApoc is our generation’s Feast Of Snakes or Naked Lunch. On my list of best fiction ever written, it comes in at second place. For books in the category of post-apocalyptic worlds, it’s number one as far as I’m concerned. Many writers have come close, but Worth’s words allow you to choke on the sorrowful truth of it all, and smell the death in the wind as it blows its dark fear over what is left of that bleak world.
The release date is October 15. You can preorder her book here http://www.amazon.ca/PostApoc-Liz-Worth/dp/1926942299