It is four years since the virus came, killing every adult in its path. Not long after that the electricity failed. Food and water started running out. Fires raged uncontrolled across the country. Now Anna cares for her brother alone in a house hidden in the woods, keeping him safe from ‘the Outside’, scavenging for food amid the packs of wild dogs that roam their ruined, blackened world. Before their mother died, she told them to love each other and never part. She told them that, when they reach adulthood, the sickness will claim them too. But she also told them that someone, somewhere, will have a cure. When the time comes, Anna knows, they must leave their world and find another.
I found myself gripped by this book. I just had to follow what happened with Anna and Astor, I just had to know what how things were going to turn out.
Whilst the main storyline of this book isn’t anything new – adults dying from a virus and leaving children to rule the world, until they come of age and the virus hits them too – I didn’t find ‘Anna’ boring at all. There was heaps of action. But also quite a lot of tender moments.
This book was a beautiful look at the special relationship between siblings. Anna would do anything for Astor, she wants to protect him, hide him from the horrors of their new world. I also found the notebook left by their mother a wonderful addition to the tale. A notebook full of instructions on staying safe and healthy. But also with advice on growing up.
There was a section of the book in the middle that lost my attention slightly, I think that it was because I’d gotten used to the story just being Anna and Astor and then all of a sudden there was a whole host of other characters and it took me a little while to get my head round it! But it soon went back to Anna and Astor which made me happy.
Horrifying, brutal but with some touching moments ‘Anna’ is a gripping post-apocalyptic tale that is full of hope.
BOOKISH CORNER RATING – 4/5 STARS
Niccolo Ammaniti was born in Rome in 1966. He is the author of five novels translated into English and two short story collections. Several of his novels have been adapted for films, including ‘Steal You Away’, ‘The Crossroads’ winner of the Premio Strega Prize 2007 and the international bestseller ‘I’m Not Scared’, which won the prestigious Italian Viareggoi-Repaci Prize and has been translated into thirty-five languages.
‘Anna’ is published by Canongate in paperback on the 3rd of August. With thanks to Becca at Canongate for my review copy.
If you like ‘Anna’ then you’ll enjoy these too:
‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John Mandel
‘Nod’ by Adrian Barnes
‘The Passage’ by Justin Cronin