The Quiet at the End of the World, by Lauren James
8 November 2021
The title of The Quiet at the End of the World brings to mind the line here at the quiet limit of the world, from a poem called Tithonus, written by Alfred Tennyson in the nineteenth century. In my mind the words take me to any deserted stretch of coast bordering the Mediterranean, and carefree summers spent ambling around Europe.
Tennyson’s verse, on the other hand, is about an immortal man yearning for death. Go figure. Needless to say, I decided to learn more about The Quiet at the End of the World (published by Walker Books, March 2019), by British author Lauren James, before choosing an inclination inspired by the book’s poetic title. That turned out to be a good idea. A devastating virus has rendered the population of the planet infertile, and Lowrie and Shen are the last remaining teenagers in the world. They live with a small group of elderly survivors from across the globe congregating in London.
Aside from the fact humanity faces an inevitable extinction, Lowrie and Shen lead exceedingly comfortable lives. But that all changes one day, when a new mystery disease begins striking down the older people around them. The teenagers need to figure out what is happening, and find a way to save the remaining residents of their community, before there they are the only humans left on Earth.