A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

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When a beloved family dog is stolen, her owner sets out on a life-changing journey through the ruins of our world to bring her back in this fiercely compelling tale of survival, courage, and hope. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and The Girl With All the Gifts.

My name's Griz. My childhood wasn't like yours. I've never had friends, and in my whole life I've not met enough people to play a game of football.

My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.

Then the thief came.

There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.

Because if we aren't loyal to the things we love, what's the point?


Genre: Dystopian Fantasy / Science Fiction

Author: C.A. Fletcher

Hardcover, 384 pages

Expected publication: April 23rd, 2019

Publishing House: Orbit


My review

It begins at the end.

This story was written in the last moments of a hopeless soul that’s lost it all, locked up in a prison cell of a post-apocalyptic society at the edges of a mainland near the Atlantic ocean on the North East coast.

The world is empty after the Gelding with only a few remaining people that escaped, survived and spread wide and far. Resources are scarce and what is left resembles living peoples of the past void of technology. Vying for resources in a world without electrical power and invention has left humans scattered and reinventing farming and tools to live. Traveling by boat, hunting and fishing are the main sources of acquiring foods and goods.

Griz lives with his parents and his two siblings Ferg and Bar, and his two dogs Jip and Jess on the small island named Mingualay (formerly Scotland) off the Atlantic coast. They are the only human inhabitants there and share the land with horses. Telling stories and reading old books of past civilizations is how they entertain themselves and learn. Griz has an inventive mind and creates his own fantasies from scraps of evidence. This helps him with overcoming the grief and loss of his sister and caring for his mom, who has been silent in a catatonic state since that fatal day.

One afternoon, a stranger arrives on a ship from another island. His name is Brand and he travels and trades commodities in search of remaining resources. The family invites him in and Brand shares Orange marmalade with the family. A delicacy they have never had and the atmosphere relaxes as they sit around the fire and talk into the night. The next morning, the family is sick and vomiting and Griz sees that Brand has taken off with one of his dogs, Jess. By natural reflex and without thinking, Griz takes off with Jip in the family’s small sailboat, the Sweethope.

Brand’s boat with signature red flags is much faster of a boat than Griz’s. It takes him a while, but he finally catches up and encounter’s the man. This is where Brand’s true colors show and after an altercation, Griz finds himself and Jip on an island with a burned down boat and no way to go back home. But Griz is not even considering a way home yet. Not until he finds Brand’s home and rescues his dog, Jess. What lies ahead is an arduous long journey through a world left behind after a disaster; a wildly overgrown landscape with wild and dangerous animals. On this journey, he meets a woman on horseback that has come from France and has escaped the “pest”. The two of them strike up an unlikely friendship without words as they can’t understand each other. With sign language and a dictionary more or less to communicate and miscommunicate as they travel on for weeks on a perilous journey west. Their little “pack” together is what saves them in many risky and tough situations through sickness, hunger, and despair. What awaits them is the end of the road. The end of life.

Imprisoned, Griz writes about his travels and makes his final entry in his notebook. You can read it when you pick up this book.

It begins in the end,

An end to a new beginning.

***

C.A. Fletcher is undoubtedly a master storyteller. A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is divinity in its kind; rare and special. A reader’s journey for the mind and heart.

The writing in this novel composed a pure and honest orchestra fusing tethered notes and tones into an intricate and tight plot, reflecting a flawed world and characters stripped of pretense left raw and savage in the face of the unknown. It is a masterfully executed composition that leaves the reader in a toiled state of emotion conducted at will.

Like a child befallen in awe by a fairytale, I was positively surprised and captivated by this book. A mixture of adventure, good spirit, hope and endurance with bursts of action and fast-paced plot are balanced by hardship, endurance, turmoil, despair and long passages filled with descriptive landscape portraits and the reflection of time passing by slow. A well-metered plot if you will, crafted with highs and lows, long and short passages.

This is one of those books you can get lost in, shut out the rest of the world and be right next to the main character. At times I felt like I was 12 years old struggling with Griz, with the absence of his courage. A book that could be enjoyed by teens as well, I think.

Albeit the title refers to a dog, I felt it wasn’t so much about the dog itself really, as it was more about Griz’s journey. The loss of his dog Jess was a driving force for Griz’s adventure and Jip played a part along in his travels, but it wasn’t a plot centered on a dog, as I had suspected. I was happy for the story to take me along in an unexpected and unique way with an ending I completely unanticipated as the pages were drawing close to the end. I had no idea where this was heading. I contemplated a very tragic ending crushing me and evoking some anger for bringing me to the edge like that. Silently, in my mind, I almost cursed at the author for my turmoil and how dare he do this to me as the reader.

I could not possibly spare you the emotions and give away spoilers about the final ending right now. Instead, I’ll just let you go on this journey with A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World and let you experience it all by yourself.

Enjoy :)

I received an Arc from Orbit in exchange for an honest review. I am very grateful for the chance to read and review it. Thank you, CA. Fletcher, Orbit and Jenni Hill for making it possible. All opinions are my own.