Cover Image: The End of Men

The End of Men

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and Putnam Books for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  This was the most frustrating  book I've ever read. Bounced from several main characters and I felt like it was several books I had read before.  Three quarters of the way through I gave up , DNF.
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I wanted to read The End Of Men for the title alone, because.... well.... at minimum, it piqued my curisosity.

The year is 2025. A male patient dies suddenly and mysteriously in a hospital in Scotland after travelling from the Isle of Bute. Soon, another patient in emergency takes a turn for the worse, showing similar symptoms to those of patient zero. Then, another. Before long, the "Male Plague" starts to kill off males, regardless of age, at like a 90% mortality rate all over the world.  Women can carry the virus, but only men die. The impact, as you can imagine, is devastating. 

Why this book is a yes for me: 

I usually enjoy the first few chapters of a pandemic novel the most and this book was no different. It definitely starts off with a bang and the pace throughout matches the terrifying reality the characters are living in, in The End of Men. 

The book was very successful at painting a grim picture and making me think about and understand how my world would be altered if the majority of men died.  I mean, think about all males you know, then imagine for a second that they died... all of them...  it's a lot!! 

I liked how much this book made me think. I finished it yesterday and can't stop thinking about it. 

I also liked the short chapters and that the chapters were written in different POV. Made for a super quick and compelling read.

That being said, at times,  it felt like there were maybe too many POV and not enough depth to each story line.  It felt a bit like I was getting a surface glimpse of a super interesting topic that left me wanting more. I'm thinking in particular of the story lines dealing with the impact of the Male Plague on the lgbtqia2+ community, fertility and that boat off the coast of Iceland... so many questions!!

What did I not love?

The timeline felt a bit long for me. I get that a lot of pandemic novels/movies do the day count thing. I normally like that, but in this case, there were too many gaps and counting by days when it got over 200 felt like math I was too lazy to do. 

I also think the novel could have benefited from more diversity in the POVs. 

I think if we weren't living in a pandemic, there would have been less overlap between certain aspects of the beginning of the book and reality (how the virus started, how it spread geographically, masks, school and industry closures, etc). And because of that overlap, the book didn't feel as scary as pandemic books normally feel in some ways. However, that's not because of the writing at all. And, if I'm being honest the idea of any virus with a 90% mortality rate is so mindblowingly awful that maybe my tired pandemic brain just can't lean into that artificial fear right now. I think I would have enjoyed this book more in non pandemic times. 

I'm giving this one a 3- 3.5 stars. Although not totally successful IMO, super thought provoking and definitely worth reading if you enjoy the pandemic novel genre. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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I was intrigued by the premise of this book - a pandemic outbreak that only affects males - mostly considering that there is a pandemic going on right now, but also because I was wondering where the author was going to go with it.

Considering that the bulk of the writing was done in 2018 and 2019, the author certainly did a great job of describing how a potential pandemic would play out - even the details of people not taking the pandemic seriously.

The story can get very emotional and did perhaps hit a little too close to home at home - instead of being an escape, it became a reminder of the current situation. That being said it was still a good read. I liked how the author handled the story and what the world looks like post-pandemic. It's told from a changing perspective of a number of different people, which I found a little difficult to get into the story at times, but it was a good way to tell the whole story of the pandemic and how it affected people differently

Thanks to Netgalley for the advance reading copy!
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What a page turner! Such a timely premise for 2020/2021. A virus sweeps the planet in 2025, a pandemic that affects only men. I love every character in this book. The book follows many women over a period of five years from the outbreak to adaptation to a new world. Every character is strong and willing to fight to be heard. Every woman we meet within the pages has suffered loss due to the pandemic, but they have gained so much by the end of the book. I really connected to the evolution of the women - not just as characters in the novel - but as the survivors who now have to take on roles previously only held by men. There are so many rich layers: evolution, feminism, self-preservation, community building, survival. A quick read that was over too soon.
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This was a little hard to read. A little too close to home with the whole global pandemic thing going around. 
But this is an interesting premise that follows a lot (probably too many) characters through a timeline of the man killing virus. This book is well done but I had a hard time keeping the characters straight. They all sounded very similar even though they are all from different parts of the world. 
I would have liked a little more in-depth into the careers and how they trained people to do more male oriented jobs. I would have liked to hear more from society vs just these main characters. 
Regardless I enjoyed this read and will defiantly try this author again. 
I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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WOW!

What a topical page turner! Written before the Covid-19 pandemic, it feels so real! Beautifully written, and a bit different, what with the short snappy chapters from the point of view of many different women (and one man), this book is my vote for the debut novel of the year! The plot and little details are so well thought out, the reader alternately cries and chuckles. Sometimes too much for me during this third wave....

Thank you to the publisher who lent me a time limited e-arc via netgalley with no obligation. This review is optional and my own opinion.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Terrifying. Prophetic. Thoughtful.

The End of Men, amazingly, was finished approximately one year before the 2020 COVID pandemic struck. This novel tells the tale of a fictional global pandemic in the year 2025, which is eerily similar in many ways to COVID with its sudden onset, horrifying sweep across victims, and devastating societal, economic and psychological impact. This pandemic, (or “plague” as it is referred to in the book) however, has one major difference - the disease is hosted or incubated in women and only attacks and kills men.  Pretty much all of them. 

The pace of this story is quick, the tension relentless, as the weight of the impact becomes heart-sickeningly stunning (given what we’ve seen lately, however, maybe not really all that impossible to believe?)  (It’s such a kick to think the author wrote this well before our first “real” global pandemic.)

The story is written from the POV of several characters, including Catherine, a social anthropologist with a husband and young son, as well as several women who work in and around the medical profession. Catherine is probably the most relatable character - you feel for her so deeply that her life and its inconceivable progression become our own chilling descent into the (almost “deja-vu”-like, for us ) madness of this sudden and horrifying deluge. 

And oh, what an ingenious premise for a book - the sex-specific nature of the onslaught gives the author a wonderful opportunity, (which she fully leverages ) to play with powerful themes and  fascinating imaginings of a world forever transformed - one which women must take the reigns to salvage and rebuild.  Childbirth, heterosexual love and marriage, power, war, weaponry, democracy, politics, greed, friendship, and of course, gender and women’s “place” in society - all are brought to the forefront in this terrific read, in a world in which may be about to end.  

No spoilers here, you will have to read this fantastic book to find out where this story takes us.

A great big thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author, for an advance review copy of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.
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I'd like to start off with this book took me 30 hours to read. And let me expand that thought within those 30 hours I also worked an 8 hour shift(plus a 1 hour commute each way), slept exaclty 8 hours and 25 minutes(thank you fitbit), made and ate dinner (let's say 1 hour), went on a government sanctioned walk(because Ontario) and then facetimed with a friend(3 hours). So when we add that up we get 22.25 hours so we are going to round up as say I read this book in about 6 hours. I read this book every single chance I got because I was so engrossed. Christina Sweeney-Baird managed to write a book about a pandemic, "plague", during a global pandemic that people actually want to read. I loved the multiple POV's provided, showing just how differently people react to the same set of circumstances. I was especially enjoying Maria's articles and Catherine's story. This book had happy tears and sad tears but overall left me feeling optimistic and uplifted. This book provided echoes of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and honestly that is the highest compliment I can give as I read that book years ago and it's still with me. To anyone who is stressed at the current world situation and is nervous about reading a book like this, steer into the curve, trust me it's worth it.

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review.
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The End of Men was, in a word, phenomenal.  I wasn't sure how I would feel reading a book about a global pandemic whilst in the midst of a global pandemic, but if anything it only made the story more compelling because the worldwide response to the "Male Plague" seemed highly believable.  

In 2025, a startling medical anomaly emerges in a Scottish hospital.  Dr. Amanda MacLean tries to alert public health services and relevant branches of the government, but her cries of alarm are ignored and soon a terrifying virus is sweeping across the world - a virus that only affects men.  Narrated by various women (and a few men) in the UK and other parts of the world, The End of Men is a thoroughly engaging debut novel that explores family, grief, motherhood, gender dynamics, and how a catastrophic event affects the human race both on a personal and global scale.  

The book was an interesting thought experiment about how deeply gender and sex shape our societies and how removing nearly half of the world's population from the equation truly highlights the lack of equality and balance across the political and professional landscape.  In addition the book was so emotionally gripping that you simply can't put it down.  From the incomprehensible grief of suddenly one's sons/husband/father/brothers all in quick succession, to the relief of having female children that are not at risk of dying, to the guilt of being an asymptomatic female carrier of the virus and unwittingly passing the disease on to your loved ones - there was such raw and palpable emotion that you couldn't not be moved.

There were however, some aspects of the book where it became difficult to suspend disbelief, namely when it came to "scientific" discourse about the virus.  I find it extremely improbable that it would take months of round the clock research by all the world's greatest scientific minds before someone would realize that a virus that affects individuals on the basis of biological sex might have something to do with XY chromosomes.   Honestly, I'm no geneticist or virologist but I thought that as soon as I read the words "male plague".  The explanation about immunity was similarly unlikely, but if you wave away the questionable science it's still a fantastic reading experience.   

Could there have been more diversity in the narration? Sure.  Most of the key characters are educated and middle-class, and there is minimal racial diversity, however, to give the author the benefit of the doubt this is a fairly accurate reflection of the scientific community and political leaders.  Could there have been more commentary on gender vs. sex and LGBTQIA2S+ issues? Perhaps.  There was one chapter briefly addressing the affects of the plague on Trans individuals and gay men, and there was some speculation on the nature of female sexuality (women who had never before dated other women doing so after the majority of the male population has died).  Again, to give the author the benefit of the doubt, perhaps she does not feel it is her place to speak on behalf of an entire community when she is not an expert.  All authors write what they feel comfortable talking about and not every novel can fully address every issue.   So, while in the spirit of objectively I have laid out some possible "short-comings", I thought that the book did a great job of what it set out to do - explore the impact on the human race if a disease only affected one sex.

I thoroughly recommend this book for any fans of The Power or Y: The Last Man.  It's one of my favourite reads of 2021 so far and I'm very much looking forward to exploring more of Christina Sweeney-Baird's work in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday Canada for providing an eARC of this book for review.
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😷The End Of Men🤒

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Reading a book written BEFORE a global pandemic, about a global pandemic, while literally living through a global pandemic?! That’s a first! 🤯 

An incredible debut novel by Christina Sweeney-Baird!

Short synopsis from goodreads:

The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland – a lethal illness that seems to effect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic – and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien – a women’s world. 

I’m honestly blown away that this book was written before COVID-19. I really loved this book! It was very, very eerie to read about a pandemic, while living through one. I don’t read a ton of dystopian/science fiction novels, however I throughly enjoyed this one. On a few nights reading it, I often found myself looking over at my male partner and wondering what would happen if a virus took him and left me behind. This book was very thought provoking, powerful,  and emotionally heart wrenching. I think this story that will stay in my head for a long time. I highly recommend you check this one out!

This book was written in a multi narrative/multi character POV which I really enjoy, and the chapters were fairly short which is also something I like.  

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the opportunity to read this book before it’s publication.
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Mild Spoilers!!


Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of The End of Men in exchange for an honest review.


The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland--a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic--and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien--a women's world. (Summary from Goodreads)


In eliminating the world’s men, author Christina Sweeney-Baird is free to explore the grief and loss of those who are left to recover in a broken world. The End of Men is divided into sections that linearly follow the virus’s initial outbreak to how women (and a handful of men) are left to rebuild society. From a worldbuilding and pacing perspective, Sweeney-Baird balances the rush of panic in the early days and the long recovery afterwards.


My only structural complaint is the use of “Day 2”, “Day 105,” etc. to describe how long it took to cure the plague. I found this to be difficult to read after the 60% mark when the dates begin to read long numbers like “Day 1,168.” The days in the thousands gave me little indication of seasons or other yearly indicators, and overall added little to my reading experience.


Though The End of Men had a strong start, the more characters that were added to the story the more I found the narrative difficult to follow. More than a dozen first person narrators from numerous countries make up the cast, yet the characters had very little to differentiate their perspectives. There wasn’t one character with enough emotional depth to pull me into the story, which is unfortunate considering this is a character-driven story.


Furthermore, most of the characters are directly connected to the virus as healthcare professionals, professors, journalists, scientists, and somehow all of them are connected to each other. I was itching to hear more about the everyday lives of the common people, which would have given a wider perspective to the world.


One of the other issues I had with The End of Men stems from the line: “You know, we don’t pretend that women are suddenly all gay now. There’s no doubt that female sexuality is more fluid than male sexuality is.” (300). For context, a tech engineer built an app to connect women after many lost their partners in the pandemic. While she is the only character to say this line, the implication undermines the fluidity of sexuality regardless of gender. This one case is representative of the lack of nuance in the discussion of gender within the book. From the beginning of the book, I wondered how the subject of trans and non-binary people would be treated because to me, to reduce people to their biological sex ignores a lot of the complexities of the human experience.


Turns out, trans people got one chapter in the last quarter of the book. In the chapter, a doctor offers a brief, extremely straightforward explanation of how the pandemic affected the LGBT+ community. To read about the mass deaths and suicides of gay and trans people without actually hearing their first-hand experience past the transwoman who recounts the statistics of their deaths really sucked. The narrator of this chapter, another doctor who is collecting stories of the pandemic, speaks with little emotion and brushes off the doctor’s experience of watching her community break apart as just another tragedy of the pandemic. Out of all the issues I had with The End of Men, this is the one I wish had been resolved.


Both fortunately and unfortunately for Sweeney-Baird, she began to write this book in 2019, months before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. This fact is super interesting to me because there are parts of The End of Men that reflect exactly what is going on right now in our world, yet there were other parts that felt unrealistic due to my experience with the pandemic. One of the times I actually felt lucky to live in our current world was reading that The End of Men’s vaccine took over 672 days to develop. One of the choices I thought didn’t age well was Sweeney-Baird’s explanation of the origin of the plague. In The End of Men, the plague emerged from an illegal op where a poor fisherman aided in smuggling exotic monkeys into the UK. My issue was that the leader of the operation was blamed for the pandemic. I found this perspective fails to address the other systems that bring about the need for some to choose smuggling. Plus, the surviving smuggler (who is immune to the disease,) is put in jail for life, but the question of who ordered the monkeys is never asked.


Sweeney-Baird’s exploration of the issues and prejudices that could affect a world without men are some of the most interesting parts of the book. For example, women without a husband or children receive hate because they supposedly didn’t lose anything in the plague. It shows how the patriarchy is internalized within so many individuals. The ability to analyze the extent of male dominance and authority over most of the world is furthered once they all die. I also enjoyed the child allotment scandal where sperm donations were planned to be distributed to women in relationships with the resources to provide for their children. The scandal was fixed by creating daycare and education systems to support parents. This was just one of dozens of situations faced by the characters, and definitely kept me interested in what happened next.


Rating 3/5: I’d recommend The End of Men to fans of World War Z, as the two books have a similar storytelling structure. Though there were parts of this book that moved slow or had problematic elements, I genuinely enjoyed the novel's exploration of a pandemic-ridden world.
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To read a book about a pandemic in a pandemic might be hard for some people. But this book really puts things into perspective, of how much worse it could have been. I enjoy how the novel follows the story line of various women from the beginning of the pandemic to the near end. It also sheds light on how male dominated our world is, and the need for diversification.
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Thought provoking,unsettling and eerily hits too close to what we've been dealing with over the last year. How could this author have had this idea just months before something quite similar comes to our real lives? As you get further into the story it shows how we've taken some things for granted or overlooked how unbalanced the sexes can be. In an evolving world of gender identities it goes to show each individual's importance is in society and what a domino effect that could occur when something is eliminated. You never know what you had until it's gone so this makes you think of all the boys and men in your life and even the ones that just made appearances and wonder would your life would have been or would be different without them. Maybe a bit dark for some but I liked the "what if" scenario to help me appreciate those in my life more or  maybe finally ditching the toxic ones.
Being someone who gravitates towards funny or sexy stories this was more of a surprise to me in just choosing it, let alone getting so into it. I won't be giving up my ride-or-die genres but this story may have just opened me up to more options in the future. 
I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley for my honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley & Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for a fair review. I'm looking forward to telling customers in my bookstore about this new release!

The End of Men officially lands in bookstores tomorrow! I was enticed by this release earlier this season by the title (obviously), and synopsis. Even before COVID-19, I've always been a sucker for a good pandemic/post-apocalyptic story. I can't believe that Christina Sweeney-Baird wrote this one from 2018-2019 though, as many of its events indicate an eerie foreshadowing (i.e.: government incompetency at dealing with the virus).

What happens when a virus with an insanely high mortality rate emerges out of nowhere and affects only men? Women are asymptomatic carriers, helplessly watching their sons, fathers, and husbands die around them (except for a miniscule immune amount). The End of Men follows several perpectives of women around the world (an academic, virologist, journalist, the emergency room consultant who identified Patient Zero, etc.) and how they deal with the fallout of the virus ravaging their homes, family, and life.

Reading this in the present moment of COVID made me frankly more emotional than I would have been otherwise. Although I am not a mother, I could only begin to imagine a bit of the pain of losing a life-long lover or family member. Although I have been in the fortunate position to have not lost anyone close to me to COVID, I reckon that this book's contents could be sensitive to those who have. This of course is not the author's fault and there is certainly a niche audience who flock to pandemic-fiction regardless (such as Camus' The Plague flying off the shelves).

For me, after getting past the emotional devastation and sympathizing with these characters, I found the writing very engrossing and easy to immerse myself into. I wouldn't describe this as a 'page-turner', but I never found a dull moment due to the constant change of perspective. The book is divided into short chapters alternating between several perspectives (some who only appear a handful of times) or 'news articles'. This could be a pro or a con. It could have been the ultimate intention, but I only found myself really caring deeply about three of the main characters by the end of the book as a result. Initially, the amount of POVs felt overwhelming and confusing until it settled into an understandable rhythm and format halfway through. Other readers may be more picky about this if they want to identify with or engage with a character's POV and instead find themselves disinterested in any character. In sum though, by the end of the book, this format of switching between over half a dozen perspectives worked for me as I became accustomed to it.

In sum, to determine if this book is right for you or not to pick up, consider your comfort level with reading material that may hit a bit close to home at this present moment. I'm looking forward to reading more by Christina Sweeney-Baird!
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This just hit way too close to home with the pandemic. I wanted to like it but I felt like it just stressed me out to read about more people dying in heartbreaking ways. I didn't end up finishing it because it just made me sad.
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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for an ARC of The End of Men. I really enjoyed this book and found it eerily familiar given the situation the world has been in for the last year. Though the pandemic that the author writes about is a lot more severe, COVID-19 has hit us hard and we are still living with it today. 
In reading reviews from others, a lot of people said that they didn't like the number of characters and found it hard to keep track, I actually thought that the number of characters and narratives added to the sense of chaos and frantic energy that is living in a pandemic. By the end of the story you know who the important players are and my favourite narrative was Catherines. I really admired her and Anthony's relationship.
The book details everything in chronological order from Patient Zero, the ensuing panic, the mass death, the creation of immunity tests, the race to develop a vaccine and personal stories from multiple characters whose lives have been upended. 
I enjoyed this story because I could relate to the content, I don't know that I would have liked this book as much if we weren't living in a pandemic but since I could relate to the sense of fear, the unknown, the science behind tests and vaccines, lockdowns, panic etc I found myself gripped by this story. 
I liked the glimpse we got in regards to life after a pandemic, all the changes in policy and everything. It made me think about what the next few years will look like after COVID-19.
I love how this story is loosely based on gender equality. What would the world look like if it wasn't completely catered to men? This book was relatable and thought provoking and I really enjoyed it given its relevancy in today's society.
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It is 2025, and a virus has just been found in Scotland, which is carried by women and attacks men, killing them in about 90% of the cases. Only 10% of the men are immune. Obviously travel exists and this quickly becomes a worldwide pandemic, killing off most of the planet's males.

Hmm, a deadly pandemic, where have I heard of that before? XD

Over more than 1500 days, we follow many different characters, obviously mostly women, including the doctor who first sounded the alarm (and got ignored), an anthropologist writing about people's reactions to the Plague, the Canadian researcher who creates a vaccine...

Many of the stories were accurate and recognizable from what we actually witnessed with COVID (like people dismissing the first whistle-blower, vaccines being protected by patents (did Canadians really have to be the bad guys this time though?)), but others were not. We've seen how selfish human beings really are, so I felt like this book was missing a lot of protests and people complaining. Also, I don't really think that's how vaccines work, where you test it on monkeys, it works, so you go straight to humans. Also, as we now know, when one vaccine is patented, other countries create their own (and then patent them too, but that's not the point...), one vaccine existing doesn't mean every other scientific team grinds to a halt.

That said, I quite enjoyed this book. The short chapters made for quick and easy reading, the multiple points of view meant we got to see many opinions of what was going on. It was a bit like Stephen King's Sleeping Beauties and Naomi Alderman's The Power had a baby, but that baby was actually way better than both its parents put together.
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What a dark glimpse into how bad this pandamic really can/could get. I loved the premise that it only affect men and what that would mean for the world. It was terrifyingly real with everything going on in the world. I loved following the different perspectives and seeing how each person was affected differently. Honestly it felt a little too real right now - how things could be if some held the vaccines, how long this could go on for, how the world will look different on the other side. It made it real how different are lives are all going to be. It was so well written and so real. I really enjoyed this story and would he able to easily recommend it!
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Disclaimer: I was provided this book at no cost for review but the opinions are mine alone.

As a male I wasn't sure what the orientation of The End of Men would be. Would it be a feminist manifesto declaring that women can get along quite well without us men? Or would it be a doom and gloom story about how necessary men are? Or something else. As it turns out it is a mixture of all three things. 

At the start of the story there was a great deal of angst as women lost or expected to lose their husbands and sons. Even worse (in my opinion) for men, as all or most men expected to die soon and had to break all contact with their families with the expectation of dying alone. In the end, the world learned to cope and was fundamentally changed in the process given the different perspectives of women. 

It is uncanny how close the description of the pandemic is to the Covid-19 pandemic that we are currently in the midst of, given that the first draft of The End of Men was written in 2018 & 2019, before the current pandemic started. The author says it started just as a thought experiment which turned out to be an accurate prediction of was was coming.

I found the story on the whole to be engaging and quite believable. In a few places the author could have done with some additional input from an immunologist and an epidemiologist as you don't "find" a vaccine, you develop one. In addition, the way that the world reacted to the first reports did not entirely ring true. In the end however this type of thing was not a major distraction for me and likely not at all for most readers.

Recommended.
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* Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada and NetGalley for an advance copy for review purposes *

Does Christina Sweeney-Baird have a crystal ball?  She finished writing the book by 2019, and it was being edited in 2020, right around the time the pandemic started. The premise of the book is around a pandemic that manifests with flu like symptoms and affects men disproportionately.  The virus in this book has a way shorter incubation period and significantly higher mortality rate than COVID-19, and in a few months, wipes out most of the world's male population.  The story is told from the point of view of several women - the ER doctor that first encountered cases of the disease, virologists investigating a vaccine, people that are living their every day life and lose their husbands, sons, fathers.  It is heart breaking. It is a hard read, but bearable (probably a good idea to wait until a vaccine for COVID-19 was available before releasing this book).  

The author clearly put a lot of thought around this and try to imagine what would happen if a catastrophe like this happened.  Think of male dominated industries - police, firemen, military, medicine, science, tech, transportation... The transformation of the world as it tries to deal with the pandemic, while major industries are facing serious disruption is gripping.  There are feminist themes (a particularly powerful scene involving reversal of power comes to mind), but the major underlying theme is grief and coping with normalized loss.

There are no main characters here, but I particularly enjoyed reading Catherine's story.  I appreciated the honesty on depicting her grief and inability to be around what she could no longer have. I think the story could have benefitted by a few less viewpoints - some of them only appeared for a handful of pages, and had little impact; their story could have been told at the museum exhibit.

While the subject can be a little daunting, the author does manage it gracefully, and with hope.  I can live with hope.

<spoiler>Because we actually are going through a pandemic now, it is harder to suspend disbelief at some elements.  I was surprised that the Canadian virologist was depicted in such a negative light, specially looking at the way vaccine rollouts are happening in the world today.  And then, it is a bit weird that other researches dropped off the race when a vaccine was discovered; there is no reason for there to only be a single vaccine.  </spoiler>
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