I’d enjoyed reading his earlier novels (see a previous blogpost) and wasted no time in downloading 600 Miles as soon as it was released.
Post Apocalyptic fiction isn’t my first choice for reading matter. Probably H.G.Wells’ War of the Worlds and Neville Shute’s On the Beach were my only sorties into the genre until recently. Since I’ve been on my indie book journey I’ve read more of the genre: I Know You Will Find Me by David Harris Wilson, 2032 by A.S. Anand and Sleeps with the Fishes by Nigel Bird might, arguably, all fit into the category; and I read The Time Machine a few weeks ago too.
Actually, I was a bit confused by the terminology so did some research (well, looked on Wikipedia) to sort out the apocalyptic (the world is crumbling) from the post-apocalyptic (the world has crumbled and how the characters cope with it) from the dystopian (the future world appears to be perfect but in fact is just the opposite) …… and decided that it doesn’t really matter what the label is so long as it’s well written, engaging, page-turning, thought provoking, entertaining and utterly convincing. Which is what 600 Miles– A Post Apocalyptic Adventure is.
Elgin is the narrator in 600 Miles and he is on a journey from Arizona to California hoping to take in the city of Los Angeles in the process and his main problem is that he is walking there because the story is set several decades into the future in a world of complete chaos. The cause of the apocalypse is hinted at and appears to have been all out war between the state and the people but this all happened years ago; Elgin only knows a hand to mouth existence in a world which has sunk to basest depravity and his frequent dispassionate observations of “skellies” tells you how bad things are.
The story is Elgin’s life over the several months of his journey; the places he passes through; the people he meets. It is a love story in the most unlikely of circumstances and an exploration of Elgin’s personality as he tries to cope with the tribulations and challenges of survival. The story is full of unexpected developments and at times is tense, exciting and shocking. It is a well written novel but what I thought was exceptionally good was the way Elgin’s voice comes through with a slow deliberation resonant of a time much earlier than the Armageddon.
There are several really interesting characters in addition to Elgin particularly Gitty and Roy who make up Elgin’s eternal triangle and are his companions for much of his journey.
I thought 600 Miles was really good. It’s been interesting to watch G.P.Grewal’s writing style change as you read through each of the other books and 600 Miles takes him off in a new and unusual direction. The writing is still literary but firmly placed within the specific genre. As a consequence it makes the reader question real world pre-conceptions to speculate as to the likely probability of our own experience ending up like Elgin’s.
The ending of the book is, I suspect, deliberately vague and lends itself to a sequel which I for one would be quick to download.