British novelist Wesley ( A Sensible Life ; the YA fantasy Haphazard House ) brings a quirky and graceful sensibility to this tale set in the English countryside in the near future. An unspecified disaster has wiped out much of the world's population, and Miriam, her 13-year-old son, Paul, and his best friend, Henry, find that most of their human and animal neighbors have been reduced to fly-away piles of fur, wool, feathers and hair, occasionally accompanied by sets of dentures. These three establish contact with a nearby abbey and set up house with a motley gang of survivors (including two skating champions, the village grave-digger and an upholsterer with a soft spot for thieves). In cool, meticulous prose, the author imagines the nitty-gritty of daily life after the apocalypse. Travel, for example, is difficult but not impossible: rollerskating is one way of getting about, and so is a leap-frogging method of changing cars, finding a new vehicle whenever the road is blocked by wreckage. Though subject matter and setting call to mind Peter Dickinson's Changes trilogy, this quietly satisfying novel is not so much high adventure as it is a meditation on what it means to create one's own world. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1993 Release date: 10/01/1993 Genre: Children's
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