Cover Image: Songs for the End of the World

Songs for the End of the World

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Member Reviews

Songs for the End of the World. A deadly virus, a coronavirus at that, is ravaging much of the US. So much of this book hit home and felt bang-on in terms of what is happening currently, it was almost uncanny. It was also quite the case of art mimicking life, as the author created an author character who writes a book about a widespread virus which is similar to the reality in the book… 
I commend the author in her excellent research, helping her form a story so probable and realistic it very much mimics reality. I really enjoyed the cast of characters, I always love multiple POV from a widespread cast who are all somehow connected and have many degrees of separation.
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Songs for the end of the world is a book that will envoke many feelings in readers while sharing a story about how we're all connected
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Songs for the End of the World is a novel about multiple different characters with connections each other in one way or another, and how they deal with a coronavirus pandemic. This book was written from 2013 to 2019, before the current worldwide pandemic.

I will keep this review short. This book definitely had its perks but it was not what I expected at all.

The author of this book is a great write and an amazing researcher. Speaking as a microbiologist, I was very impressed with the level of detail the author included about the pandemic, the science and medical side of things and just knowing how real people would react to the pandemic, because what she wrote is very close to what actually happened in real life.
Unfortunately the structure of the book and the characters were not something I enjoyed. As the story follows multiple characters, we constantly switch from one character to another and new characters are constantly introduced into the story. Normally I don't mind books like this where they focus on a few characters, but this novel had a crazy amount of characters, ones that were still being introduced into the story more than half way through the book. I know at one point while reading I actually said to myself "oh my god another new character? When will it end?"
I also found myself a bit confused sometimes on who each character was and their connections to one another, I'm not sure if it was just me but I could not connect to any of the characters. They felt a bit one dimensional and boring.

Overall, I loved the idea of this story and how much work the author put into the research and her effort. Unfortunately I need a story where I can connect with at least one character to be interested in reading.
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So much attention was placed on this book because of it's prescience in uncannily predicting the coronavirus pandemic.  While that is amazing, we shouldn't lose sight of what a beautiful writer Saleema Nawaz is.  She showed her ability to get under the skin of her character's in Bone and Bread and continues with that here.
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This was an enjoyable read....well written. The characters were well-developed and believable. There was plausible interaction amongst the characters and the plot was timely and well done. This was an enjoyable and fast read.
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This book could not have been more relevant for the current times. It was certainly an unusual feeling to read about similar experiences as I was living. Four stars!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an electronic ARC
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What drew me to this book was the pandemic type scenario during the pandemic. I liked how was written from different characters in two different timelines and how everyone was connected in a way. It would make an excellent movie.
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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

So this wasn't the kind of story that I was expecting to read. This was more about the characters affected by the virus and their relationships to each other and less about the virus. There were a lot of different characters and the storytelling between different periods of times made for a very confusing read at times. I was drawn in at the beginning but quickly found myself getting bored. Maybe this just wasn't the right time in my life for this book and sometime in the future I will try reading it again.
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This cast of characters lives that have to find a way to cope in a pandemic.  While this book might be a little too close to home in the current world situation,  they are intriguing characters living with their own struggles.   I found it hard to follow some of the characters, as there were so many and I wanted to know more about the pandemic situation they were in.
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This was a really hard book to read, and the reason for that is it did such a good job of invoking the feelings I had during the early stages of the pandemic so that I was uncomfortable, scared, and anxious all over again. To invoke an emotional response is always hard, and yet Nawaz did an excellent job. 

The diverse cast of characters was wonderfully interwoven and help show different aspects of the pandemic including delving into the panic buying, fear, and isolation felt by many. However, as we've come to learn, there are those that do not fully understand what the pandemic is, or why PPE/ social distancing is important, and I think that there was some of that even in the early days. 

Aramis Girl was a fascinating character, and to be honest, I'd love to see another instalment of this same story but from her perspective. She is so integral and while Newaz did a great job of creating inferences to her importance, I think she could easily be a star in her own right. 

Finally, in the world today the pandemic is not over or fully contained, and Songs for the End of the World did a lovely job of extrapolating the future of the pandemic and the toll it would take on the world, without providing an unrealistic or cheesy ending.
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Humanity is facing a global pandemic, very similar to COVID-19.  The quarantines, the social distancing, the race for a vaccine are all eerily familiar. Interesting but relatable, flawed characters, realistic but often with frustrating behaviors, and significantly relevant narrative. 

Jumping between time and points of view, Nawaz cleverly weaves the lives of these characters and brings their connections together without telltale predictability.  

Although uncannily apropos for the planet's current state, Songs for the End of the World makes for a superior read at any time. 

Thank you to NetGalley and McClelland & Stewart for the read of Saleema Nawaz’s, Songs for the End of the World.
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Songs for the End of the World is a fascinating look at the myriad ways we are connected. It's overlapping narratives show a deep understanding of character, and the language is engaging. Reading it during a pandemic is a bit eery because Nawaz got so much right, which just goes to show how her research and synthesis skills.
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I know there has been a lot of reviews on this book already, and yes, you’ll see some of it repeated in my review here today. But I really want to mention how much I ENJOYED this book.

Who would have thought I would like a book about a pandemic as we currently live in a time of a pandemic?

You see, even though this book was written and edited from 2013-2019, some of the similarities between COVID and ARAMIS are uncanny. The quarantining, the contact tracers desperately trying to find the source of the outbreak (in this case ARAMIS Girl), the feeling of being shunned by your neighbours when you’ve tested positive, asymptomatic victims, the empty grocery shelves (oh boy, remember April when you couldn’t find toilet paper or yeast?). Some of this is totally relatable, and oddly comforting knowing these fictional characters were experiencing the same thing. We follow a few different character points of view, who are essentially connected and their story woven around the pandemic. And in spite of the story moving from present to past, it’s still easy to follow. I read through the first third very quickly, it slowed down a little after that, but still very enjoyable. And although it is a pandemic, and unfortunately people do die, the ending was tied up nicely.
Overall, the writing was great and I enjoyed the connection between the characters.
So yes, I really liked this book.

A big thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the advanced copy for review. 

4 stars
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I needed to take some time and reflect on this book because of the circumstances we are living in today with the COVID19 pandemic. I wanted to be as unbiased as much as possible.
First off, it is impressive and interesting that this book was basically written before Covid19. The book focuses on a worldwide pandemic caused by a coronavirus called ARAMIS. It is not an exciting action account of an emerging virus with the accompanying race to find a cure. It is more of an exploration of the effect of a deadly novel virus that has the potential to wipe out humanity on a select group of people who are loosely socially connected.
I found the book interesting at times but at other times, I found it a bit tedious. I stuck with the novel and am glad I did finish it. I was in tears at the end which surprised me a bit as I was not keen on most of the characters but then this was meant as an exploration of everyday people with all the imperfections they have. It may also be part of the emotional toll that Covid19 has taken on not only me but also all of us. The novel is well written and the characters are also well developed which is not always easy. If you are looking for an exciting book on the fight to beat a threatening virus then this is not the book for you. On the other hand, if you are interested in delving a bit deeper into the human psyche and the effect a pandemic might have on various people then this would be a good book that I would recommend.
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I did not finish this book. Reading about a pandemic, during a pandemic did not have the appeal that I thought it would. Though this novel was written before the current outbreak started, there were eerie similarities. I did not connect with the characters and was not interested the outcome. I give it a 3/5 for writing style and plot line, but it just wasn't for me.
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The author wrote this book over a number of years (2013 – 2019) and spent considerable time researching previous pandemics, epidemiology and related to topics. She finished it prior to the current pandemic, and yet the plot is timely to the point that is almost viewing a live news story about the ongoing confirmed cases and deaths from COVID19 around the world.

Her characters are complex and compelling and it is interesting to see how they redeem themselves over the course of the narrative. I look forward to reading more by this author!

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A book meant for this time. It is so interesting to see what things the author imagined would happen in the face of a novel coronavirus and what our world looks like right now. But really this is a novel that looks at interconnected characters and how their past effects the present during the pandemic. I enjoyed this look at a slightly alternative reality from now. The characters were rich and deep and there were so many layers. I would love to go  back and look again at  how everyone is connected.
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Thanks to Net Galley for an advance copy of this book.  I wish I'd had it before 2020.   In hindsight, it might not have been the best book to chose to read.  After all, it's a fictional book (written between 2013-2019) about a corona respiratory virus pandemic where one of the central characters (and frankly there are too many characters) is the author of a fictional book about surviving a pandemic/plague.   And I'm reading it in the midst of a real global pandemic?  Hmmm....but, to be fair, the book is more about the relationships between people, not necessarily the pandemic itself (which really provides the background).  Overall while I liked the writing style and narrative, there were just too many characters to follow with some forced "seams" between them.  Decent book but not a must read, especially in 2020.
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This novel really surprised me. While many will compare it to Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, this book is more than capable of standing on it’s own due to the exceptionally beautiful writing and the immensely believable characters. 

And the characters in this story are where this novel really shines. The people in these pages are so fleshed out, so fully realized that I couldn’t help but be drawn into their journeys. Saleema Nawaz does such an incredible job of making you feel for these people, from the cops and doctors working on the frontlines, to the sleazy self obsessed intellectuals. There were several times throughout the novel where I couldn’t help but hope that things would work out even for the worst of these characters. This is one of those books where you come to the end and find yourself yearning for more time with these people to see what else is in store for them, and to hope they come through this pandemic unscathed.

Reading a book about a pandemic during a pandemic is always going to be a surreal experience. And while you would think this type of story would be a depressing reflection of what’s going on in the world today, Songs for the End of the World is so optimistic. By focusing only on the present and specific instances in several characters' pasts, you are able to believe that these people make it through this and come out the other side better people, just as I’m sure we all hope the same will be true for the world in this current pandemic.
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Thank you! Very timely publication. Saleema Nawaz has clearly done her research. Prescient. I wish I had a sailboat to escape Covid with my family. I enjoyed the interactions between the various characters. Having the main character as an author famous for writing about the pandemic made a radio interview I heard with the author a surreal experience.
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