The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

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It’s August 2020 and I’m sat on my sofa in the searing heat. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and I’ve attempted to read just 2 books in as many weeks and couldn’t finish either of them. 

My concentration is at record rock bottom levels and I’m yearning for a book to take me away from this shitshow. 

I thought I wanted gently calming and quiet reads, but they were just not cutting it. My eyes were seeing the words, my brain was somewhere else entirely. What I didn’t realise (aah, hindsight!) was that I needed a big, powerhouse of a book to slap my brain around with, get it out of slump-mode using good old fashioned brute force. 

So mindless scrolling on Twitter was all I could focus on. 

Then it happened. I came across a very eye catching bright red ARC of a book not due out until Spring 2021. 

The die-cut front cover was gorgeous. The synopsis, terrifying. The End of Men would either wake up my reading with a violent shake or send it further down into blank oblivion. I was prepared to run that risk. The world around me has partly shut down and my mind was rapidly following suit. 

I’ve got hundreds of books to be read, but what did I do? I requested it on NetGalley of course! 

It seemed like a bit of a madcap idea to read about a deadly virus, I’m trying to escape the continuous doom and gloom of this world, not add to it. What the hell am I doing?! 

Anyway, I had my request accepted and dived straight in. 

There’s a global pandemic and men are dying. Men are dead. Women are carriers, fiercely protecting their sons, watching as their husbands are savagely taken by this killer disease. The thankful ones had daughters. Only one in ten men are immune. 

The End of Men is in the literary fiction genre, with fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian tones that were worryingly real. 

‘The world is closing down’.

It was hitting temperatures here in Hampshire, UK of 35 degrees, yet I felt chilled to the bone. 

Written in multiple points of view from various parts of the world, from Scotland to Singapore, from Canada, to the USA and everywhere else in between, I was able to follow every thread of this story with ease. Usually any more that two or three viewpoints throw me when I’m reading, I struggle to remember who’s voice I’m hearing. All these characters were diverse and the writing style was crystal clear. Everyone’s journey was a path I  followed with ease. 

‘Billionaires have become millionaires, the value of money has evaporated, and this city built on sexism and mans ability to play God through technology is falling apart at the seams.’

At around the halfway mark, I had this niggling pain in my face. I thought I was perhaps coming down with something. (Oh no, those awful paranoid Coronavirus thoughts were creeping in!) Turns out I’d been clenching my teeth so hard whilst reading that I’d given myself a tension headache and jaw-ache! What a relief! So I took some paracetamol and carried on reading. 

‘I have never felt so powerful. This must be what men used to feel like. My mere physical presence is enough to terrify someone into running. No wonder they used to get drunk on it.’

The tables have turned. Women are the future in Sweeney-Baird’s world. Women are being relied upon to save the world, the human race. I’d say it’s about time too, judging by the state of our real pandemic, maybe turf out the blokes, us girls could surely do a better job. (I’m looking at you, New Zealand!)

What I wasn’t expecting was how frightened I felt if we were to be without men completely. Who would remove the spiders? Reach the top shelf for the gravy granules? Clean the windows? I’m joking, obviously. I’m no Stepford Wife, (one of the books I read and thoroughly enjoyed this year by the way!) but seriously, thank goodness this was a work of fiction, albeit too close to reality for comfort at times. 

‘Tonight, I will drink a lot of wine, something I only allow myself to do occasionally to avoid slipping into the kind of sodden, drunken grief that I can see the appeal of very clearly’. 

I know it sounds completely nuts, but I would say this is recommended reading for any person, man or woman, who’s life has been affected by  Covid-19. So that’s EVERYONE then. It’s put our current situation into better perspective for me, that’s for sure. For the first time since March I’ve felt a little more positive and a lot more thankful because actually, things really could be a whole lot worse.   

‘Bad things and good things can coexist…..’ ‘And we have to find the good where we can.’

Ladies and gentlemen, give that man in your life an enormous hug. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Five solid stars from me.

I’d like to say a massive thank you to the author, Christina Sweeney-Baird, the publisher, Harper Fiction for sending me an advance copy in exchange for an honest review via the NetGalley platform. 

 

Author: OwlBeSatReading

Hi! I’m Lisa the Book Owl. I spend so much of my spare time reading, so I decided to start a blog all about it. I mainly read Historical Fiction, Horror and Literary Fiction, particularly Domestic Noir style LitFic. This is my little blog where I share all things bookish 🦉

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