Author: Christina Sweeney-Baird
Release date: April 27, 2021
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ARC kindly received in exchange for an honest review.
Set in a world where a virus stalks our male population, The End of Men is an electrifying and unforgettable debut from a remarkable new talent that asks: what would our world truly look like without men?
Only men are affected by the virus; only women have the power to save us all.
The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland–a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic–and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien–a women’s world.
What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus’s consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the “male plague;” intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal–the loss of husbands and sons–to the political–the changes in the workforce, fertility and the meaning of family.
In The End of Men, Christina Sweeney-Baird creates an unforgettable tale of loss, resilience and hope.
What did I think of The End of Men?
You’d think by now I’d be sick of reading about a world-wide pandemic, but apparently not! The End of Men hits close to home: it’s an exciting, tragic, impossible-to-put-down, page-turner of a novel about humankind’s fight against its own extinction. In the end, it teaches us what is most important in times like these: to remember those we lost but to carry on fighting for those we haven’t.
The End of Men is a deeply moving story of a deadly virus targeting the male population only, and how the wives, sisters and daughters, and the few remaining men, must learn to adapt to rebuild the world from the ground up. The End of Men is both fascinating by how accurate it was in predicting a global pandemic (it was written from 2018 to 2019) and terrifying when we think we could have faced (and still could one day face) a deadlier virus than COVID-19!
Honestly, every time I’d read something that also happened in our real-world pandemic, like flights being canceled as countries close their borders and certain people being carriers without any symptoms, I’d get a little thrill at feeling like I’ve lived through it as well.
The End of Men is narrated by an array of different characters, living in different countries. There’s the doctor who treated Patient Zero and who tries to find the origin of the virus; there are the virologists and epidemiologists, trying to understand the virus in order to create a vaccine; there are the politicians, working to rebuild the system and keep their countries from falling apart; there’s a journalist, fighting to tell the truth; and there are simply women, who are trying to cope with their losses and carry on with their lives as best as they can.
To say this novel wasn’t an emotional journey would be a lie: but it was also inspiring and a little hopeful. It was great to see the other side too, the after-pandemic. I think we can all use some after-pandemic musing.
I give The End of Men four-and-a-half stars! I really recommend this book, even if you’ve had it with this deadly virus talk: trust me, you won’t regret it.
Warning: this book will also make you want to hug your boyfriends/husbands/fathers/sons/brothers.