Originally published: 29 April 2021
Author: Christina Sweeney-Baird
Published by: Borough Press
Length: 416 pages
Reading dates: 2-5 May 2021
GLASGOW, 2025. Dr Amanda Maclean is called to treat a young man with a mild fever. Within three hours he dies. The mysterious illness sweeps through the hospital with deadly speed. This is how it begins.
The victims are all men.
Dr Maclean raises the alarm, but the sickness spreads to every corner of the globe. Threatening families. Governments. Countries.
Can they find a cure before it’s too late? Will this be the story of the end of the world – or its salvation?
I remember seeing The End of Men around in the summer of 2020 and at that time in my life thought it was a rather good concept! I’m more forgiving of the male species these days though…😉
Any regular readers of my blog will know I love a dystopian / speculative fiction read so was thrilled to be invited on this blog tour. The End of Men is set in 2025 and tells he story of a deadly virus – one that will kill 90% of the male population, within 5 days of them becoming infected. Women are carriers but are asymptomatic and the virus infects the whole world with terrifying speed.
Despite this being a disease that kills men and boys, the story is primarily told through women. From the doctor who first discovers the disease and who desperately tries to keep her husband and two sons safe, to the ordinary women who loose their families, to the scientists desperately trying to come up with a cause and a cure, to the politicians trying to deal with the fallout and figure out how life can carry on.
I loved this and it is such a good story with loads I want to talk about. Every story of loss was utterly heart-breaking but one that stuck with me was Catherine whose husband succumbs to the disease. They make the painful decision to cut off contact as soon as he became ill in order to keep their young son as safe as possible, so he has to die alone upstairs in their home. Catherine stops touching her young son in the hope of keeping him safe but eventually he also dies and she has to live with the regret of not showing him affection while she could. She is unable to stay friends with one of the oldest friends because her husband is immune and she has daughters – the pain and jealously is too much for her.
The author does a great job of imagining how society would change with a dominantly female population. How there will be a shortage of people to do traditionally male jobs from bin men to surgeons. How every day items that are generally designed for male users are eventually changed to suit female users (smaller mobile phones to suit smaller female hands, seat belts in cars that fit better). How relationships change – some women choose to start relationships with other women, while the remaining men that are left struggle with the attention they get women.
Written before Covid in 2018 this is the second pandemic book I have read this year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Full of emotion, The End of Men is a thought provoking and intelligently written debut! I absolutely loved it and highly recommend.
Some other recommendations for pandemic / end of the world type books include:
Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift
The End of the World Survivors Club by Adrian J Walker
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C A Fletcher
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
The Survival Game by Nicky Singer
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
I’d love to hear any other recommendations!
Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour and Borough Press for a beautiful finished copy of the book! Don’t forget to check out these other awesome bloggers!
About the author:
Christina was born in 1993 and grew up between London and Glasgow. She studied Law at the University of Cambridge and graduated with a First in 2015. Christina works as a Corporate Litigation lawyer in London. The End of Men is her first novel.