I am currently listening to an audiobook entitled Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel which features a super-virus with the sweet sounding name of the Georgia Flu (since patient zero is from Russia). This flu is apparently much worse than the Ebola virus rampaging through West Africa since it is airborne and has a gestation period of only a few hours. In Mandel’s apocalypse, the hospitals fill up exponentially throughout perhaps a few days until things break down completely and it’s all over for everyone but a small percentage of humanity; poor bastards who happen to be immune. Sound familiar? Stephen King’s The Stand begins similarly. But in King’s epic there is a strange force drawing the survivors to a central location somewhere in the US.
Commentary on The Dog by Joseph ONeill
At a time when many fiction writers, even those considered “literary”, have re-embraced the technique of using straight plot to tell a story, Joseph O’Neill dares to ignore that trend with the publication of his latest work. O’Neill, with The Dog, tends more to the deconstructive method of say, a Nabokov or a DeLillo, possibly even a Paul Auster. It is the sad tale of the narrator, a counselor-at-law (unnamed (or unnameable?) although he does use an alias (an ironic one at that) for his more illicit activities), who, after an ugly break-up with Jenn, his same-vocationed significant other, accepts a job offer from an old college chum, now one half of a Lebanese billionaire duo known as the Batros brothers, which requires relocation from his home base near New York City to the emirate of Dubai. Being an attorney, our narrator understandably has a lawyerly way of pleading his case. At times the prose reads like a legal brief; with lists, inventories, summaries, delineations, and so on. Literary style aside, O’Neill has written a cogent commentary on the hazards of our ever more globally connected, accessible, privacy-stripped society.