Wednesday, 4 November 2009
The Death of Grass
Title: The Death of Grass
Author: John Christopher
Number of pages: 208
Started: 1 November 2009
Finished: 4 November 2009
As sometimes happens, death healed a family rift.
When Hilda Custance was widowed in the early summer of 1939, she wrote, for the first time since her marriage thirteen years before, to her father. Their moos touched – hers longing for the hills of Westmorland after the grim seasons of London, and his of loneliness and the desire to see his only daughter again, and his unknown grandsons, before he died. The boys, who were away at school, had not been brought back for the funeral, and at the end of the summer term they returned to the small house at Richmond only for a night, before, with their mother, they travelled north. In the train, John, the younger boy, said “But why do we never have anything to do with Grandfather Beverley?” His mother looked out of the window at the tarnished grimy environs of London, wavering, as though with fatigue, in the heat of the day.
She said vaguely “It’s hard to now how these things happen. Quarrels begin, and neither person stops them, and they become silences, and nobody breaks them.”
Read the book here.
At first the virus wiping out grass and crops is of little concern to John Custance. It has decimated Asia, causing mass starvation and riots, but Europe is safe and a counter-virus is expected any day. Except, it turns out, the governments have been lying to their people. When the deadly disease hits Britain they are left alone, and society starts to descend into barbarism. As John and his family try to make it across country to the safety of his brothers farm in a hidden valley, their humanity is tested to its very limits.
What I thought:
I enjoyed this book. I took a bit of time to warm to it, but by the end I thought it was really good. Then I re-read the beginning of the book and liked the beginning much more second time around.
The book tells the tale of a virus that wipes out all of the world’s grass, including any grass based crops, and focuses on a family’s flight from London and the government’s dastardly plans, and all the people they meet, or join up with them, along the way.
I wouldn’t rate it as highly as The Day of the Triffids, but it is still a good read and one that actually made me wonder how much we take for granted and what we would do if those things were taken away.