East Abides is a post-Apocalyptic, illness induced novel. I believe over 95% of the world’s population has died over some unknown illness. Isherwood (Ish) Williams is a grad student and scholar who survives because (he thinks) of a rattle snake bite.
Ish discovers that is not alone in the world. He meets Em who he marries, and has kids. They form a “tribe” with Ezra and George that is what remains of San Francisco humanity . The language was really pretty and the end of civilization is pretty big topic.
Things that made me sad. Certain things were of the old world. Romantic love (because there were not enough people to choose from and we needed to breed) and intellect (because there was no one to teach and only Ish valued intellect) were among them.
It was also weird to see a post-Apocalyptic novel set in 1949. Terminator, the Postman and other novels/movies of that kind of all set in the modern era. It’s weird to think of a world with no civil tights movement, gay rights movement, and so on.
As a person with a disability, I was kind of horrified that they kept denying the sex-rights of Evie, the developmentally disabled woman whose impairments may have been the result of childhood trauma of “the big disaster” or may have been inborn. They were also very nice to the old Ish. Part of me wonders how they would treat a mentally aware person with a disability, like me.
I rate the book a 7.5. Maybe I’d like it better if I was more into post-Apocalyptic fiction, but I’m not.