Davide Longo's Last Man Standing is a vivid description of one man's struggle in a post-apocalyptic world to protect his loved ones even as societal norms give way to barbarism and cruelty.
GQ (Italy) called Davide Longo, "the most talented and intense Italian novelist of his generation." In this dystopian, post-apocalyptic literary novel, Italy is on the brink of collapse: borders are closed, banks are refusing to distribute money to their clients, the postal service is shuttered, and food supplies are running short. Armed gangs of drug-fueled youth rampage through the countryside as the nation descends into chaos.
Leonardo was once a famous writer and professor before a sex scandal ended his marriage and his career. With society collapsing around them, his ex-wife leaves their daughter and son in his care as she sets off in search of her new husband, who is missing. Ultimately, Leonardo is forced to evacuate and take his children to safety, but to do so he will have to summon a quality he has never exhibited before: courage.
The Last Man Standing
Leonardo pushed back the curtain and took a long look at the courtyard where three cars were parked, one of which was his own. The open space was surrounded by a metal net three meters high with barbed wire at the top. The previous evening, though blinded by the light the guard had shone in his face, he had noticed the outline of the little tower, but he now realized it had been skillfully constructed from old advertising panels, sheets of metal, sections of railing, a shower cubicle, and a fire escape. One of the two searchlights above it was pointed at the courtyard and the other directed at the desolate emptiness beyond the fence.
He looked out at the flat fields covered with low bushes where the road stretched into the distance, with occasional bends despite the fact that nothing seemed to be in the way to make them necessary. The sky was a monotonous unmarked gray for as far as he could see it, reminiscent in every way of the last few days. A man ...
Despite its doomful and depressing tone, this novel is thought provoking and leavened with bright moments of grace...I closed the book feeling that the power of greatness in humanity is stronger and more lasting than the ineptitude and evil mankind can contrive.
(Reviewed by Judy Krueger).
After I finished reading The Last Man Standing, I became curious about post-apocalyptic novels written by authors from countries outside of the United States. A rather lengthy and frustrating Internet search led me to science fiction conventions around the world, prizes awarded, and books that have been translated into English. It also brought up the question of the difference between the post-apocalyptic and dystopian genres.
Earlier this year, BookBrowse reviewer Cindy Anderson wrote about Dystopian Fiction in the Beyond The Book feature for Kat Zhang's What's Left of Me. Briefly the difference is that dystopian literature deals with worlds that are the very opposite of utopias, while post-apocalyptic books imagine the world after a ...
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