The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland–a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic–and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien–a woman’s world.
What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus’s consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the male plague; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal–the loss of husbands and sons–to the political–the changes in the workforce, fertility and the meaning of family.
In The End of Men, Christina Sweeney-Baird creates an unforgettable tale of loss, resilience and hope.
Okay, I can understand if, due to our current reality, you aren’t able to read this book right now. It takes “live your truth” to a whole other level. But this book is breathtakingly brilliant and spectacular. Part thriller, part sci-fi, The End of Men intrigued me with the first few pages and kept me gripped until the very last pages.
Throughout the book, readers are introduced to a long list of characters and how each is managing this life-altering reality. For the most part, there is not a main character as perspectives shift every few pages. While there are several characters, I did not find myself confused or lost. Each story was so distinguished, and each character so different. There are definitely a few I connected to most. Catherine, a young woman who loses her husband Anthony and her young son Theadore processes loss in such a raw and realistic way that leaves readers broken-hearted.
Reading this book made me thankful for my current reality. I’m fully vaccinated, as is my family, and my life has mostly returned to some semblance of normalcy. Though there were countless losses over the past year and a half, I didn’t lose anyone close to me of COVID-19. Reading The End of Men reminded me of how truly terrible things could have been.
Overall, I absolutely recommend The End of Men—this is Catherine Sweeney-Baird’s first book and I am so eager to see what she does next. The writing is stunning and the characters are beautiful and raw. This book truly leaves you with a lot to think about, and I’ll be thinking about this one for quite some time. Definitely a 5 star read!
PUBLICATION DETAILS: Doubleday Canada; April 27th, 2021; 9780008407933; Sci-Fi/Contemporary Fiction