I read Chad A. Clark’s short story collection, Borrowed Time (and reviewed it here) some time ago and really enjoyed it. So, when I learned that he was expanding one of those stories into a novel, I was excited to get to read it. You don’t need to have read the short story first to enjoy the novel though, and the story is included at the end of the novel, since the novel is a sort of prequel to that story, laying out the what happened before “Tomorrow’s Memory”.
Behind Our Walls is a unique take on post-apocalyptic fiction. There are no zombies, no dictatorships, no aliens. The threats are not external and easy to unite against. The world has simply fallen apart and we are watching it reform around Sophie, our young protagonist. Many of the themes popular in post-apocalyptic fiction are present here–extreme situations bringing out the worst and best in people, trust as a limited commodity, resource management for survival. But I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel before that focused on “what happens now” so fully. Backstories and causes of the downfall of the world take a serious backseat to grappling with how society will reform in the new reality.
The novel begins with Sophie on the run in the company of her parents, her sister Corrine, her sister’s fiancé Adam, and a man named Rowen. Without getting too spoilery, I think it safe to tell you that they meet other travelers and that people are lost, new alliances are made, moral quandaries are faced, and betrayals happen.
I was engaged by the story and cared about the characters throughout. There was good tension and suspense regarding what decisions different characters might make and what struggles they would face. I recommend the book for those who enjoy post-apocalyptic or survival stories, but are looking for something a little different in that genre.
About The Reviewer:
Samantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. Her debut novel, Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel is now for sale by Curiosity Quills.
Learn more about Samantha and her work at http://samanthadunawaybryant.blogspot.com/