Glorious Plague

Karen Heuler. Permuted (www.permutedpress.com), $14.95 trade paper (275p) ISBN 978-1-61868-1-768
This quirky and smart postapocalyptic novel works brilliantly until its disastrously abrupt conclusion. As the action begins, people throughout America are seized by a kind of ecstasy: they start singing and can’t stop until they die. The few stunned survivors in Manhattan try to organize themselves to stay alive and find new meaning for their lives. Then they discover they are sharing the city with angels, devils, and other mythical beings. Although Heuler shifts expertly between several characters, the story focuses mainly on two people: Dale, a middle-aged woman who is emotionally devastated by the loss of her daughter but who obsessively yearns to do the right thing, and Omar, an entomologist who wants to hold onto his faith that science can conquer the plague and cure the survivors’ “delusions.” Heuler begins spinning several fascinating plot threads—then everything simply stops. If this were the start of a trilogy, it would be wonderful, but without the promise of future books, the whole thing is just a long shaggy-dog yarn. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/03/2014
Genre: Fiction
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