Songs for the End of the World

Songs for the End of the World

I recently recommended this eerily prescient pandemic novel about a coronavirus pandemic (really) to Cliff in WSIRN Ep 256: The perks and pitfalls of omnivorous reading. I enjoyed it on audio and would love to own a print copy, but for mysterious reasons, the U.S. publication date on this book is now on hold. It is available for Canadian readers (or readers willing to pay international shipping). I avoided all pandemic-related books for a while, but this story of resilience and hope struck just the right notes for me.

About the Book

An immersive, deeply engaging, and hopeful novel about the power of human connection in a time of crisis, as the bonds of love, family, and duty are tested by an impending pandemic. Named a Book You Should Read This Summer by Maclean’s and Chatelaine.

How quickly he’d forgotten a fundamental truth: the closer you got to the heart of a calamity, the more resilience there was to be found.
This is the story of a handful of people who find themselves living through an unfolding catastrophe.
Elliot is a first responder in New York, a man running from past failures and struggling to do the right thing. Emma is a pregnant singer preparing to headline a benefit concert for victims of the outbreak–all while questioning what kind of world her child is coming into. Owen is the author of a bestselling plague novel with eerie similarities to the real-life pandemic. As fact and fiction begin to blur, he must decide whether his lifelong instinct for self-preservation has been worth the cost.
As the novel moves back and forth in time, we discover these characters’ ties to one another–and to those whose lives intersect with theirs–in an extraordinary web of connection and community that reveals none of us is ever truly alone. Linking them all is the mystery of the so-called ARAMIS Girl, a woman at the first infection site whose unknown identity and whereabouts cause a furor.
Written and revised between 2013 and 2019, and brilliantly told by an unforgettable chorus of voices, Saleema Nawaz’s glittering novel is a moving and hopeful meditation on what we owe to ourselves and to each other. It reminds us that disaster can bring out the best in people–and that coming together may be what saves us in the end.