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Publisher's Summary

Children of Men meets The Handmaid's Tale in this "smartly written" and "splendid" thriller about how far a mother will go to protect her son from a hostile world transformed by the absence of men (Stephen King).

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 place.

Twelve-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 home.

To 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 closer.

A 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.

©2020 Lauren Beukes (P)2020 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A harrowing tale that ably explores grief, motherhood, and gender roles.... Beukes is a gifted storyteller who makes it thrillingly easy for readers to fall under her spell as she weaves a hypnotic vision of a fractured world without men. A propulsive and all-too-timely near-future thriller." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Part thriller, part science fiction, and all amazing." (Good Housekeeping)

"Intriguing and all too timely.... Fans of high-concept feminist SF thrillers will be enthralled.... A worthy addition to the pandemic fiction subgenre." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Afterland

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good book, bad reader

I can almost forgive barely distinguishable difference between the South African and British accent. But this reader’s American accent is atrocious. AND for some reason, she insists on pronouncing the word “something” with a P in the middle.

5 people found this helpful

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Unoriginal, uninspired and entirely too long

I rarely feel the need to give a negative review unless I really dislike a book and that’s definitely the case here.

First, it’s important to point out that the premise of this book is not entirely original. Many other writers have explored the concept of a disease wiping out a specific gender (Brian Vaughn in “Y: The Last Man” and Frank Herbert in “The White Plague,” to name a few), but I still wanted to give this book a shot. Beukes brings nothing new to the table and even manages to make it boring. There’s no real mystery to the story despite being marketed as a dystopian thriller and much of the story unfolds in a predictable, uninspired fashion. What’s more, the ending is so utterly anticlimactic that one gets the sense that it should have been written as a short story. It’s eye-rollingly cheesy and cringe-worthy in its predictability.

The performance is the only saving grace here. Amato’s narration often saves what is otherwise a flat, platitudinous tale that is easily forgettable.

4 people found this helpful

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I Hung In There But i Kind Of Regret It...

This book started off strong and very interesting, but when it took a turn for the ridiculous it would not stop until it just plain frustrated and aggravated me. I was very much much looking forward to it so I am super disappointed...

2 people found this helpful

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dark

the story and plot were a little too dark for me. at the end of the book, i couldn't think of any character i would like to know better, except maybe the dead dad.

1 person found this helpful

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Prescient, timely or rushed?

Great often grim story that explores grief, fear, greed and love and redemption (or the loss of). Lots of interest social commentary and details, although at times the the characters’ emotional profiles can be a bit cardboard stiff. At these moments the story lags. But overall a science fiction story that both reflects and distracts from our current and all too real pandemic.

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A bit tough to get through

I read this for a book club and would have never picked it myself as apocalyptic stories are not my thing. That being said, I definitely liked it more than I thought I was going to. I had to stop and take some breaks listening to other materials along the way and periodically come back. I did come back though, because I wanted to hear how it all turned out. All in all, it was Ok.... I made it through & it was entertaining. Well done & believable narration.

1 person found this helpful

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Captivating story, until the end

I enjoyed Afterland. It was a compelling and captivating listen until the end when it seemed to run out of steam. The ending wrapped up too quickly and a bit unrealistically. After chasing Cole and Miles across country for so long, it’s hard to believe that Billie wouldn’t know how to shoot a gun, especially since the gun had already gone off when it hit the ground or that such a hardened thug like Zora would go down so easily from a punch to the vagina. And what was the surprise they saw when Sister Generosity took off her clothes?

Although the narrators ap problems with some “American” pronunciations, I liked the energy and variety of voices she brought to the performance.

I think I would have preferred they went back to the Nuns, but I liked the “mama bear” protectiveness of Cole. Overall an entertaining listen and so appropriate during the Coronavirus pandemic!

1 person found this helpful

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good book, not earth shaking.

the story was okay, the characters were not as good as in her other works. I still recommend this book though as the story is timely

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On & On

Overall story was solid, though storytelling was distracting and sometimes boring. I skipped many sections once I had the gist of storyline. The book was engaging enough that I did want to get through to the final outcome. Further edits would have been welcomed.

1 person found this helpful

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Too much swearing, not enough context

I didn’t like the amount of vulgarity, not only from the villains but from the protagonists (including the 13 year old boy) but from the ultra religious nuns. Listening to it rather than reading it made it really stand out to me. Most of it wasn’t needed and it got in the way of my enjoyment.
Too much background and context was missing. I get that a virus led to the death of most males, but between that and the story so much was skipped. How did society and government survive? What major changes took place and what didn’t change? There are still gas stations, hotels, restaurants, roads, and many other parts of the world. How did some things survive and others not? I never realized until near the end that there were still lots of people around.