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Patrick Allington

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Rise & Shine (2020) 17 eksemplarer
Figurehead (2009) 13 eksemplarer

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Back in 2010 when my blog was still very young, I reviewed Patrick Allington's first book, Figurehead which had been longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. It remains in my memory as an outstanding novel which tackled some complex moral issues in an entertaining way. (Which is mostly what I like my books to do).

Ten years later comes Rise and Shine which—though set in a dystopean world after an apocalypse—again wrestles with complex issues. Amongst other things, it's about leadership, and how it can lose its way, even when it's motivated by the common good.

'Rise' and 'Shine' are two cities on what's left of the earth after the catastrophe which left it bereft of animal and plant life, and subject to toxic rain.
No one who survived could really say whether it was a single big catastrophe, or a series of smaller messes, or if it was just the slow grind of excess. Probably it was all of that. Maybe Russia dropped a bomb on San Francisco. Maybe it didn't. Maybe the Nile became poisoned. Maybe it didn't. Maybe the last of the ice caps turned yellow. Maybe they didn't. Maybe Vitamin C turned out to be carcinogenic. Maybe it didn't. Governments of all brands, the UN, the anti-UN, the World Bank, FIFA all spoke loud and long about what needed to happen, but by then no one could tell information from lies.

The details hardly matter now. The earth, pushed past its limits, began to eat its own. Most of the eight billion victims died over a period of a few months. Quickly, slowly: these things are relative. Living another day, and another, depended on who you were and where you were. (p.1)

Drones and robots have established that there's nothing left in the barren landscape, only these two cities, founded by the charismatic Barton and Walker and their four offsiders, Cleave, Hail, Curtin and Holland. Thirty years after they found each other in extremis, they are still alive, though sick, in the way that everyone is.

Cleave lives in self-imposed isolation, and is the Chief Scientist in Rise. With the assistance of Malee, who collects and analyses information for her, Cleave interprets data for toxicity, pathogens and salinity in the precious water supply, and she observes the environment far and wide for any signs of emerging plant or animal life. So science has been elevated to an important and respected position in this society.

Curtin is the Chief Medical Officer, tasked with keeping the population alive. But increasingly her time is focussed on the health of Walker, attending to his tumours and sores. Minions help him dress in garb that conceals his wasted frame, because it is important that the figurehead looks the part. But Walker thinks it's more important that she attend to others. This is a society whose leader is focussed on the common good.

To read the rest of my review please visit
… (mere)
anzlitlovers | May 31, 2020 |
Longlisted for the Miles Franklin award, this is an intriguing moral dilemma: what do you do when you have helped to save the life of a truly evil man? See my review at
anzlitlovers | May 2, 2010 |


½ 3.7