This is my “go to” book when someone asks for a good read. It’s light and lively, a good tale, with a back story that dives deeper than the whale.
Apparently there are three, three letter words that can bring down civilisation.
War. Oil. Flu.
Not Forgetting the Whale, by John Ironmonger, tells the story of Joe, a young, clever analyst who uses modelling to predict the coming of the third – a flu with the destructive force of a plague, capable of disrupting the world and tipping us into apocolypse.
It’s pretty big stuff for a story set in a little town in Cornwall, with nicely recognisable characters, networks of romance and relationships, and a visiting whale (cue book club discussions on symbolism, metaphor and allegory).
In the growing disaster as the fragile connections that underpin our world collapse, the town becomes an Ark as Joe and the locals close the borders and struggle to survive.
Joe’s modelling predicts that if Oil, War or Flu should bring us down, total collapse is inevitable. But his clever computer, which analyses economics, supply chains, political activity and journalist reporting world wide, has missed the human factor.
Give this book to the pessimists in your life.