Monday 1 March 2021

How To Survive Everything by Ewan Morrison @MrEwanMorrison BLOG TOUR @Sarabandbooks @RandomTTours #HowToSurviveEverything #LockdownReads


My dad taught us to be prepared for whatever was coming. He said we should know the facts about how long we could survive without food, water or fresh air, and to remember that we couldn't live at all without hope. It was better, he said, to be ahead of the game. Better to be ten years too early than one minute too late.

That's why he did what he did, on that morning

Inspired by her father's advance planning and her own ingenuity and courage, this is one teenage girl's survival guide for navigating life under a new, even more deadly pandemic from the confines of a prepper compound. Will she ride out the collapse of everything she knows, and how can she save her family and sanity?

How to Survive Everything by Ewan Morrison is published by Saraband today, 1 March 2021.

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour.

I read Ewan Morrison's Nina X at the very end of 2019 and it was one of my top books of that year. I was delighted to have the chance to read this, his latest novel. I think he's one of our best living authors, his voice is unique, his style is magnificent and his imagination knows no bounds. 

Set during a worldwide pandemic in the near future, this is a startling and prescient novel that is particularly chilling given our present circumstances. I realise that there will be people who have no desire to read about the potential destruction of the world, or about the often selfish behaviours or our fellow mankind. However, I devoured this one. It is not just the story of the breakdown of the world as we know it, it is also an intelligently written study of family, and how the behaviour of adults can destroy their children.

Haley is an average fifteen-year-old girl, dealing with the breakdown of her parents relationship, whilst experiencing the teenage angst that is common to all girls of her age. She and her younger brother Ben live with their control-freak mother and have regular visits with their father. It's after one of these visits that life whirls totally out of control and Haley and Ben are abducted by their father and taken to a 'safe house' in the wilds of the countryside. Their father is a prepper and is convinced that the latest virus discovered in Asia will really end the world this time. Governments learned nothing from the 2020 COVID crisis and he and his followers are prepared. With a stockroom filled with everything from asthma inhalers to diamorphine, they are ready.

Morrison has created a small community of dysfunctional people who have hit rock bottom in life.  These characters are frightening, yet vulnerable. Violent, yet sensitive. They need a leader, and direction, and preparing for the end of the world gives them a mission.

There are scenes within this novel that are stomach churning to read. There are no holds barred and Morrison does not shy away from painting a disturbing and sometimes bloody picture. However, there are some powerful messages within the story. The reader is never quite sure just what is happening outside of the metal fence that encases the safe house. There's a question mark that looms heavily over the narrative, with echoes of the fake news and propaganda that is prevalent in our society today.

How To Survive Everything is a terrifying and harrowing novel, yet is is also deeply touching. The life journey undertaken by Haley, her sudden realisation that the two people who she is supposed to trust the most are both damaged and damaging is so moving. 

Most certainly a novel of our time. One that will stay with me, and haunt me. 

Ewan Morrison is a multi-award-winning novelist, screenwriter and essayist. 
His 2019 novel, Nina X, won the Saltire Society Scottish Fiction Book of the Year and is currently being developed as a feature film with a multi-award-winning director. 
He has previously won the Scottish Book of the Year Fiction Prize (2013) and the Glenfiddich Scottish Writer of the Year (2012). 
His first feature film, an adaptation, was released in five territories in 2016, and was a finalist for four international film awards. American Blackout, a feature length docudrama co-written by Morrison, reached an estimated audience of 30 million viewers. 
Morrison has also been nominated for three Scottish BAFTAs. 

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