THINGS FALL APART
Turtledove shows off a first-class talent in his searing examination of the everyday perserverance of one family as they struggle with catastrophic events, mixing humor with intense emotion without losing sight of the big (bang) picture. His characters are rich, enigmatic and diverse, all with their own idiosyncratic tendencies, and with both endearing and not-so-lovable traits.
Five years ago, the Supervolcano under Yellowstone erupted, leaving what’s left of the US population reeling. Climate change is cataclysmic; parts of the country don’t exist; power, where available, is sporadic at best and non-existent at worst; no one on the planet has been spared, and it’s about to get worse as “things fall apart.” The Ferguson family has fared both better and worse than others. Patriarch Colin, his wife Kelly and three of their four children are in Southern California while his oldest son’s been marooned in Maine since BE, (before-eruption). At least they’re still alive — for now. (ROC, Dec., 400 pp., $26.95)