Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Review: The Last Town on Earth

The Last Town on Earth
Author: Thomas Mullen
Paperback: 432 pages
Published: July 31, 2007

The Last Town on Earth tells the story of a secluded mill town in the Pacific northwest, and the ensuing events when the town decides to quarantine itself against the Spanish flu pandemic of 1917-1918.  Mullen does a wonderful job of weaving the three archetypal conflicts: man vs. man, man vs. the machine (society), and man vs. nature.  He does so in an unexpected way, with a wide cast of well-developed characters.  The story initially revolves around Philip, the adopted son on the mill's owner, but it becomes quickly apparent that while he continues as the main protagonist, this is not just his story; the town is really the main character, and all the people that play a role here are the supporting cast.  Ultimately, Mullen does leave a few plot lines unresolved, but for the most part this is a finely written, engaging book.  I couldn't put it down.

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