In a matter of days the world has ended. A pandemic, a disease that kills a victim within 48 hours, has left 99% of the world’s population dead. The survivors spend the rest of their lives scraping by, forever changed by the tragedy. In this post-apocalyptic world there is a troupe of traveling actors and musicians who call themselves The Traveling Symphony. When they aren’t protecting themselves from bandits they perform Shakespeare and play music for townspeople they come across.
I loved the sound of this book when I read the blurb and I wasn’t disappointed. However, I can definitely see how it isn’t for everyone. There isn’t much action or suspense. It is a quiet read that is primarily about life. The narrative follows the lives of a few characters in the events leading up to and their lives after the pandemic. The plot jumps back and forth in time and the story is split between past and present events for a while. Eventually the two plot lines meet up as the novel comes to a close. The amount of characters that are introduced does become a little overwhelming, but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem since only a handful really need to be remembered.
I can also understand how some readers may find this novel to be a slow read. Personally, I found it to be a page turner. I was invested in the lives of the main cast. I would call this novel very character driven. If you cannot connect with or find the characters interesting you may not have the same pleasant experience I had while reading it. The novel explores many concepts of humanity and civilization through the characters’ stories more than it deals with the event of the pandemic itself. It makes you think and it scares me. The pandemic, losing loved ones, and civilization crumbling doesn’t feel too far from a possible reality.
The writing is beautiful. The scenes the words paint is both depressing and inspiring. The imagery and character development is spot on. The only thing I really want from this novel is just more. I want more details about the post-pandemic world. I want to know more about different cities, what happens to my favorite characters, and how the world is changed. The novel does explain many of these things in considerable depth, but I still want more! This novel is definitely one of my all time favorites now.