Name: A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World
Author: C. A. Fletcher
Number of Pages: 365 (Hardback)
Published: April 23rd 2019 by Orbit
Genre: Post Apocalyptic
When a beloved family dog is stolen, her owner sets out on a life-changing journey through the ruins of our world to bring her back in this fiercely compelling tale of survival, courage, and hope. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and The Girl With All the Gifts.
My name’s Griz. My childhood wasn’t like yours. I’ve never had friends, and in my whole life I’ve not met enough people to play a game of football.
My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.
Then the thief came.
There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.
Because if we aren’t loyal to the things we love, what’s the point?
At the beginning of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is a note asking readers not to reveal any of the secrets found within the story. Call me instantly intrigued. I couldn’t help but wonder what I was about to read, and more to the point, how I would be able to write about the book and stay true to this request? Well, here goes my attempt…
The world as we know it has gradually petered out as people stopped being able to reproduce. Everything seems to have ended quietly as the last generation aged, with no new generation to take their place. Griz has always lived on an island with his family – parents, siblings and dogs. They’re surviving, having endured various tragedies and joys along the way.
Then someone new arrives, and suddenly Griz is thrown into chaos when the stranger steals Griz’s beloved dog Jess.
With little thought for anything else, Griz goes in pursuit, determined to take back his dog and return home to his family. But the adventure will take him a long way from home.
For a world left desolate and mostly empty there is still a great deal of wonder to discover, and when Griz reaches the mainland a whole world beyond anything he’s read about in books opens up. There’s such atmosphere in the locations, they’re so vivid in their solitude and ruination as nature takes over where humans have long since departed. So many images stuck in my mind, abandoned places and remnants of the way life used to be.
Griz has a wonderful imagination and loves books and stories, and there’s a great sense that the stories of bygone times survived even where the people could not, and that stories still have power, even in a world that has fallen apart.
His own story is written in a notebook to an unknown boy in a photograph that Griz found whilst scavenging. It gives him some focus as to who he’s telling his tale to, even though the two have never met and never will.
There’s a bleakness to much that Griz finds, but also something very hopeful about the journey, and the world that remains. In a dangerous situation, there’s appreciation of the small things – a temporary safe haven, the chance to listen to music, or to find something new to read, and meeting new people, although they are few and far between and don’t always have the best of intentions.
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is a book to lose yourself in. Melancholy, dangerous, a difficult venture with the odds stacked against Griz, it still offers hope, courage, friendship and plenty of surprises and revelations along the way. It’s a book you really should experience for yourself, and one you’re not likely to forget quickly.