North: A Post Apocalyptic Journey is the third book in G.P. Grewal's Post-Apocalyptic trilogy. At the start of the book Elgin, the protagonist in 600 Miles - A Post-ApocalypticAdventure, is still alone and desperately trying to survive in a bleak and devastated landscape.
When Elgin meets Annie their loneliness becomes assuaged in a beautiful but tragic love story set amidst the struggle for survival.
Elgin's character is developed much more in this book and his often simplistic views of the world reveal some profound understandings of human nature. He has become blasé about being the one to shoot first and ask questions later if he thinks his survival is threatened. He wants a relationship and he attempts to normalise things with Annie despite their daily struggle to find food, water and shelter.
The book hints at some of the causes of the much earlier devastation and Elgin's interpretation of the past might chime a little with the reader's thoughts about the present. The post-apocalyptic world explored in North is a dreadful place: in the struggle for survival most of the remaining humans have developed a deep suspicion and hatred for each other and the rare kindness of strangers is barely to be trusted.
North is a very readable novel and the voice of Elgin, the narrator, comes through strongly in an old-West, hill-billy style. This voice is consistently sustained throughout the novel and adds greatly to the originality and quality of the book. As he shares his thoughts and feelings Elgin, the man destined to walk alone, becomes more and more likeable but increasingly tragic. When Elgin talks about his feelings for Annie, the writing is honest and quirkily humorous as he reveals his old-fashioned views about gender roles. Elgin's relationship with God is a particularly interesting aspect of the novel; as is his perception of history and the educated man.
The descriptive writing is vivid and real. The smells - stinks - are overwhelming; the taste and texture of some of the animals cooked and eaten are nauseating; the oppressive darkness of an unilluminated night is scaring.
North: A Post-Apocalyptic Journey is a book of tension, drama, emotion and tragedy. There is a rare glimmer of hope in the final pages although, sadly, not for Elgin. Highly recommended.