➬ [Ebook] ➧ Afterland By Lauren Beukes ➸ – Children of Men meets The Handmaid's Tale in this bowstring taut visceral and incredibly timely thriller about how far a mother will go to protect her son from a hostile world transformed by the absen Children of Men meets The Handmaid's Tale in this bowstring taut visceral and incredibly timely thriller about how far a mother will go to protect her son from a hostile world transformed by the absence of men Most of the men are dead Three years after the pandemic known as The Manfall governments still hold and life continues but a world run by women isn't always a better placeTwelve year old Miles is one of the last boys alive and his mother Cole will protect him at all costs On the run after a horrific act of violence and pursued by Cole's own ruthless sister Billie all Cole wants is to raise her kid somewhere he won't be preyed on as a reproductive resource or a sex object or a stand in son Someplace like homeTo get there Cole and Miles must journey across a changed America in disguise as mother and daughter From a military base in Seattle to a luxury bunker from an anarchist commune in Salt Lake City to a roaming cult that's all too ready to see Miles as the answer to their prayers the two race to stay ahead at every step even as Billie and her sinister crew draw closerA sharply feminist high stakes thriller from award winning author Lauren Beukes Afterland brilliantly blends psychological suspense American noir and science fiction into an adventure all its own and perfect for our times.Afterland


Hardcover  · Afterland PDF/EPUB ò
  • Hardcover
  • 411 pages
  • Afterland
  • Lauren Beukes
  • English
  • 05 November 2016
  • 9780316267830

10 thoughts on “Afterland

  1. says:

    ”’And you’re returning to South Africa after your vacation?’‘Yes that’s where we live’ proud of the fact of it Away from everyday Nazis and school shootings so regular they were practically part of the academic calendar along with prom and football season away from the slow gutting of democracy trigger happy cops and the terror of raising a black son in America But how can you live there people would ask her and Devon her American husband especially meaning Johannesburg Isn’t it dangerous? And she wanted to reply how can you live here”We’ve all been convinced of the exceptionalism of America since we were wee lads and lasses Not just us Americans but Europeans and all across the world America the great beacon of hopeWe might need to tweak things a bit For Cole and her husband Devon and their son Miles America is an opportunity to make some money through a lucrative temporary job for Devon and also be able to experience America before returning to South Africa but then disaster strikesThe MANPOCALYPSEWell heck there is no place better to be in the world than America during a pandemic Look how well we’ve done with Covid 19We might need to tweak things a bitIn a matter of months men are nearly extinct from an aggressive contagious form of prostate cancer including Cole’s husband Devon 32 billion men dead leaving about roughly 30 to 50 million men in the world Most of these men are locked up for their own protection Every man alive is living the life of the rock god Jim Morrison with women uite literally willing to tear them apart to have them for themselves It seems cool in the abstract but in the practical it becomes pretty damn dangerous to be one of the few remaining men ”You can’t imagine how much the world can change in six months You just can’t”Well maybe we can I think we all had a taste of what it would be like if a high death rate contagion raged across the world Nothing like this of course but I fear that Covid 19 might be just a dress rehearsal for something much worse Before that happensWe might need to tweak things a bitThis is dire The world is obviously going to take another huge dip in population the longer it takes to find a vaccine The Reprohibition Act has made it against the law to reproduce The fear is that the virus will mutate in some new male child and kill off the rest of the men who have so far proven to be immune I kept thinking to myself as I was reading thisCan a destabilized government really dictate whether the females who are fortunate enough to still have a dick available to them to not get pregnant? Hormones are a powerful thing and I can only imagine the alarm bells going off in women’s heads with nature itself driving them nearly insane to reproduce There is also that very natural desire to want to replace those you’ve lost Once the collective governments of the world allow “breeding” again it won’t take that long to rebuild the population Losing 32 billion women would have put the human race in much deeper jeopardy but I know from growing up on a farm that a herd bull can impregnate 30 cows with ease and even as many as 50 without a negative impact on the conception rate A young male human is capable of far eclipsing those numbersSperm is suddenlypriceless This uote from a cult nun well not a very reverent one made me chuckle ”’I think about that now all that semen wasted Worth a goddamn fortune now on the black market’ Michelle rubbed her belly with both hands ruefully ‘I must have swallowed a million dollars’ worth in my time’”Women are in charge of everything now and of course they without the heavy hand of males around are going to build a feminist utopia right? Well maybe not Power vacuums by nature have to be filled and there are stronger women and weaker women Stronger women start acuiring the same bad characteristics that women didn’t like in men Cole has a situation where she feels that power ”The weight of the shotgun the cold tang of the metal against her palms the soft give of flesh as she pressed the wooden stock into the woman’s shoulder pinning her to the ground She wanted to do She wanted to hit her across the face with it Feel her nose break” We are by nature a violent race of people and women abhor those violent tendencies in men as they should but they may prove to be eually susceptible to them if men are no longer in the euation I feel that Lauren Beukes did a wonderful job balancing the gains and losses in this book An unbalanced world is a scary place no matter who is in charge A feminist utopia might prove difficult to achieve than we first imagineCole has been one of the few lucky ones to have a son who is immune The female gestapo of America lock him up and start doing tests on him The only pathway to a cure is finding out why some men are naturally immune She realizes that if Miles is going to have any kind of life she needs to break him out and somehow leave America and get back to where they belong in South Africa If one is going to be oppressed one would much rather have it done by their own government Her sister Billie her most staunch ally has become her worst enemy As Cole and Miles flee across the country hiding out with anarchists and then a cult of nuns her sister pursues them relentlessly Twelve year old Miles has one of the most valuable things in the world sprouting between his legs Cole is determined to give her son as normal a life as she can in this chaotic world She is going to do her best to make sure he doesn’t end up a sex object a reproductive source or a stand in son for some rich asshole who will pay anything to have a replacement son Billie realizes that Miles is her only chance to hit the lottery and her sister is just going to have to get out of the way one way or another This chase across the country gives Beukes a great opportunity to show the state of things under the new female regime I like the bar scene where women are sitting around drinking and watching nostalgia pornotherwise known as football games where they can watch men long dead clash like titans on the gridiron There are also bars full of women dressing as men with moustaches mutton chops and beards at least providing the illusion of a man for a male starved population This is being marketed as a feminist noir thriller which it certainly is but I hope men are going to read it as well I found it to be a fascinating enjoyable read that left me with much to ponder Unfortunately the cover doubles down on a female readership with the pink and light blue motif but men gird your loins and march this book up to the counter and buy it If I hadn’t already had a relationship with Beuke’s books which have been great I probably wouldn’t have given this cover a second look I would feel the same way as I do about 90% of the commercials on TVI’m not their target audience I want to reassure readers there is as much for men in this book as there is for women Stephen King raved about this book calling it a ”splendid new thriller” I couldn’t agree If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at and an Instagram account

  2. says:

    If Broken Monsters was Lauren Beukes’s great Clive Barker novel then Afterland is her great Stephen King novel By the way I personally hate it when blurbs state breathlessly that if you loved ‘x’ by ‘y’ then this is JUST the book for you because it is MORE of the sameBeukes has carved a niche for herself as one of the most innovative speculative genre writers at work today on the same level as Clive Barker and Stephen King I deliberately use the term ‘speculative’ as opposed to the restrictive ‘horror’ or ‘SF’ because she is one of those writers who effortlessly transcends and transforms genre while adding a uniuely South African twistWe have been waiting a long time for Beukes to finish her next book In a ‘live’ Facebook launch for Afterland with the actual event cancelled due to the ongoing lockdown in South Africa Beukes admitted that while it took her five years to finish Afterland she was busy with a range of other projects during this time from comics to a book of essays and short storiesShe said that the first three chapters were the most difficult to write as she struggled to slip into the skin of her characters Eventually she came to the inevitable realisation that her ‘bad guy’ would have to be a woman and thereafter everything clicked into placeBeukes added that she ended up cutting about 50 000 words of back story which must have been a brutal editing process But the rigorous discipline and commitment to her story that this implies is abundantly evident in the final productThere is not a single superfluous or misplaced word in this nearly 350 page book Despite its length it does not feel overlong at all Neither are there any lulls or those kinds of ‘filler’ patches that so many ‘big books’ seem to have these days The chapters are short and punchy but not so staccato like as to disrupt the narrative and turn it into a series of vignettesI am reminded of the ‘frog being boiled alive’ analogy Once you are in the velvet grip of this book Beukes ratchets up the suspense until the tension is almost unbearable The alternating viewpoints between Billie and Cole as they engage in a desperate cat and mouse road trip across a post apocalyptic America is seamless and rivetingThe level of detail in the book points to a mindboggling amount of research by Beukes In her afterword she mentions that she travelled many of the same roads as her motley group of charactersYes there is a rather cheeky Interlude towards the middle that gives us the lowdown on this particular prostate targeting virus that has wiped out the bulk of the male population worldwide but it comes at a crucial turning pointing of the narrative that effectively bookends the two parts of the book Before and AfterAs with the best kind of apocalyptic fiction Beukes is far interested in the reconfiguration of society that takes place in the wake of her fictional pandemic and the new forms of social organisation interaction and of course deviancy and pathology that resultsHere the Sisters of All Sorrows juxtaposed with the Barbarella sex club are perfect examples In a perfect example of how fucked up society can become and the cognitive dissonance that defines so much of our world today richpoor haveshave nots EastWest whiteblack etc Barbarella is by far the welcoming and humane institution than the shelter with a prayer and mortification offered by the psycho SistersMiles having American cousins allows for “a big family get together every few years across the hemispheres” affords Beukes the strategic opportunity to let the reader see America through Cole’s South African filter There are a lot of comparisons between similar landscapes for example and the differences between cities South African collouialisms which will probably seem like neologisms to American readers pepper the text making for a weird dissonance that is as comforting as it is disuietingAnd few writers can do disuiet or creepy existential dread erupting into appalling violence uite like Beukes Which means that reading this book during South Africa’s lockdown due to a global pandemic makes for a truly surreal reading experienceThere are many instances where the book seems spookily prescient – the shortage of sanitiser rigorous hand washing becoming a ritual of daily life the worry that a cure will never be found – that it seems ripped from the headlines of today’s newspapersGiven the amount of time that Beukes spent on this book the last thing she must have anticipated was writing a version of a reality that was about to become so frighteningly and alarmingly clear I am reminded of Ali Smith’s Seasonal uartet and Dave Hutchinson’s Fractured Europe books both writers who also tapped into the zeitgeist with a lightning rodIn the wake of the success of the television adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale there seems to have been a spate of novels focusing on female dystopias such as Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King The Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich and The Power by Naomi Alderman to name but a fewBeukes breathes fresh life into the sub genre by taking a rather uniue spin on her dystopia as a tabula rasa for a potential braver new world She was asked during the Facebook launch as to what is the purpose of reading such a difficult and upsetting book during the current crisis? Surely an escapist beach read is best to forget our current troublesBeukes replied that the book allows the reader to project their own version of Afterland onto current events In other words we are at a uniue fulcrum of history where the decisions we take post crisis will shape our future for generations to come We are all like Cole and Mila driving headlong into an unknown future armed only with our hope and belief in our enduring humanity

  3. says:

    You can’t imagine how much the world can change in six months You just can’t Except that now of course we all can35 stars rounded up to 4 I’ve read all of Lauren Beukes novels and my favorites are Zoo City and The Shining Girls The thing I love most about this South African author is her knack for wildly inventive plot lines – criminals who gets assigned animal companions or time travelling serial killers That said I thought the story line for Afterland was the most “normal” of everything she’s done until now – not necessarily a bad thing especially in a time when most of us are drawn to easy reading booksThe story is set in the future where 99% of men are dead after a global man plague Cole and her twelve year old son Miles are on the run from her sister and a group of boy traffickers but they also have to be on the look out for the Department of Men who wants to uarantine all surviving males I found the mention of hand washing sold out hand sanitizer conspiracy theories financial markets crashing and hospitals being overwhelmed a bit eerie and very prescientThe writing is edgy and I especially liked the parts where Billy sociopath sister is high on drugs while trying to catch up to Cole and Miles as I felt like I was deep under the influence myself The author uses a cool trick to point out how chauvinistic some of us are still in our thinking by always mentioning a job description before the description of the person and I found myself having to constantly change my picture to female from male a few sentences after we were introduced to a cop security guard taxi driver etc The real issue being addressed in this dystopia is probably women and violence We are still very much programmed to think of women as nurturing even after watching shows like Game of Thrones and Ozark so the brutality between females feels unnatural andor uncomfortable but as the one of the characters in Afterland notes – “But girls have to prove You have to hit harder meaner crueler if you want to step into the Big Men’s shoes” when the future is going to be female

  4. says:

    By now a lot of us have read a lot of dystopias featuring sexual politics often accompanied with some major disaster that leaves women a huge minority The Book of Etta or The White Plague or any number of bigger named modern authors This one flips the script Men are seriously endangered The few men left must deal with the patriarchy of women Yes patriarchy Because let's face it patriarchies are learned All told I loved the worldbuilding There are a lot of great easter eggs and the research for the plague itself was brilliant The characterizations of Cole and Billy and Miles was pretty fantastic It reads like a convoluted cat and mouse being on the run from the government and even from themselvesMy only real concern is not a dealbreaker but a personal preference The religious bits were fascinating and weird and well thought out BUT it wasn't exactly to my taste Or maybe it was but where it eventually led was weird Maybe that's a product of having read soooo many dystopias where religion gets funky automatically but I'll give Afterland this it doesn't go the same direction as the rest All told I DO love the whole After Man take on the world It's down to earth and pretty damn realistic compared to say The Power Afterland is character led I'm glad I got to read it

  5. says:

    I was worried about picking up a book centred on a pandemic I mean the timing is interesting isn’t it But two things uickly became clear1 The pandemic here is different it only kills men2 The whole thing feels completely tongue in cheek and is impossible to take seriouslyCole and her son Miles escape a camp in California set up to protect and exploit some of the few remaining males semen is gold We’re not yet clear on the details but it seems that during the escape Cole may have killed her sister Billie Young Miles become Mila ie he takes on the identity of a girl as they make a Wacky Races style run for Canada or maybe somewhere else if that won’t work The early scenes are actually pretty good aided by flashbacks that allow us a glimpse of their previous lives and how the pandemic got a hold And now we learn that Billie is alive barely and in hot pursuitEarly on my issue was that I found the exchanges between Cole and MilesMila irritating the attempts at humour in their banter failed to hit the mark for me and the whole mood of the dialogue just felt off I battled on but when I came to a section where the pair became part of a travelling circus of saviour nuns I began to skim and soon after that I gave up at around two thirds of my way through the bookIn truth I’m not sure what audience this book is aimed at – young adults perhaps? And maybe I'm just struggling to see the funny side of a pandemic at the moment my bad if that's the case Either way this story definitely wasn’t what I was expecting and though I had a decent go at working through it I’d actually been tempted to set it aside from uite early on Sorry this one really wasn’t my cup of teaMy thanks to Penguin UK and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

  6. says:

    35 starsI have read most of Lauren Beukes’s books and loved all of them She has always had this undefinable element to her stories that made them stand out From the bizzaro world of Zoo City to the creepy thriller The Shining Girls The fact that she is a fellow South African made reading her uniue books even of a treatWith this latest installment however I struggled to get completely lost in the storyThere is not one glaring specific thing that bothered me just a few things that niggled in my periphery while readingThis is a world where 90% of men have been wiped out by a virus that targets only men and cause fatal cancer Any remaining males are hoarded into secure facilities and tested on like lab ratsIn this world women had to step in the void left by men and it was bothersome that most of these women were portrayed as nothing than men with vaginas Some of these characters reminded me of the main protagonist in Artemis she was male than some men I knowIf you take out the post apocalyptic theme of the story and replaced it with say a woman running away from an abusive partner 75% of the story would still be the sameIts not a bad story and I do not want to discourage anyone from reading it but I think my expectations were sky high

  7. says:

    Unfortunately this book was not for me I almost DNFED it at 25% 50% and again even at 75% As you can probably tell I do not like to DNF books I think I owe the publishers and authors than that Even if I’m not enjoying a book I torture myself in hopes that the ending will blow me away—this HAS happened But alas—this was not the case here I really did not enjoy this book For two people that are running from the law there was zero excitement whatsoever I didn’t even fear for them The male gender has almost completely diminished due to a gender specific cancer and I didn’t even feel sad The writing was too monotonousPublication Date is 07282020 Thank you very much to Mulholland Books for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest reviewWhat I can promise you is that I have passed this ARC on to a book friend who REALLY wanted to read it and hopefully they will love and treasure it 2 ⭐️

  8. says:

    With transmisogyny fundamentally baked into the premise and apparently a long history of cissexism before this the author's presumed insights into gender power and humanity are nothing but a trainwreck

  9. says:

    Ahoy there me mateys  I received this dystopian thriller eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review  So here be me honest musings This be me fourth book by the author  I adored her shining girls and thought it was one of the best time travel books I have read  I also very much enjoyed zoo city cause who doesn't want a giant sloth? This is a dystopian thriller where a plague has wiped out most of the men  The remaining men are locked up for their own protection  A mom Cole and her teenage son Miles have escaped and are on the run  They make their way across the US with Miles dressed as a girl  I should have loved this one but I wasn't thrilled by it at allWhile I liked the concepts everything was dealt with on a surface level Instead of getting the interesting point of view of Miles as one of the last men on earth ye primarily get an anxious mom's looping thoughts  The government chasing the fugitives doesn't come into play  The bad guy is a relative who only is able to track the duo because a the son's bad use of social media or b because mom actually gives directions  The pandemic could have been removed and replaced with any other big issue and not much would have changed in the story  Also minor points that are personal dislikes include the use of the religious cult and mention of current politics and peopleI was expected a fast paced action thriller that delves into the social structure of a post apocalyptic world run by women  Instead it is an uninteresting take on family dynamics where not much really happens  A miss for me but I will still be reading future work by the authorSo lastly Thank ye Mulholland Books

  10. says:

    35 starsMy first book by Buekes She's clearly a talented writer and this was very good just not a perfect fit for me at the moment A little gritty realism than I was looking for right now

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