Publication Date: December 1, 2012
In Sun Bleached Winter by D. Robert Grixti, Lionel and Claire Morton are running from Cannibalistic Marauders and struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world when they hear a radio broadcast about a city of hope. Claire is injured and death is upon them so with nothing to lose they look for the city that they hope will save them.
D. Robert Grixti provided me with a copy of this novel in exchange for a review.
Lionel is the narrator. He’s a writer without an idea of time, place or his own age. He and Claire spend their days wandering. The tone of writing is hopeless and with an edge of will to survive, which called to mind other novels that have been mind-benders like Sun Bleached Winter. There is desperation in the feeling that all that matters is surviving. Why we want to survive is unclear. We see what Lionel is seeing but is he seeing what he’s seeing? Early on he witnesses a woman and her three children as they’re massacred and burned on a woodpile. Later he and Claire take refuge in a Ranger cabin and sleep near the body of the Ranger who killed himself. Lionel tells us, “… loose skin dangles from the edges of a deep fracture, which stems from a tiny bullet hole.” (Kindle edition location 204). He envies the Ranger in the way that though he’s the main character and narrating the story for us, makes me wonder will he or won’t he take his own life?
What absolutely killed me about this novel is that it could happen. I found myself while reading thinking about what I would do in this situation. I would not cling to hope, I would not try to survive, if I didn’t die in the initial blast, I would surely try to kill myself. What about my child? Nausea poured over me as I thought of her in that sort of situation. Sun Bleached Winter is a novel that really made this reader think.
Sun Bleached Winter is a short novel, only 116 pages, but carries a big impact. If the novel had been longer, the intensity, which had been actively maintained throughout the text, would have been too much. Grixti’s writing style perfectly conveys action and emotion and upon finishing the novel, this reader was worn down. Is there hope for the future? Is it too late to put a plan in place?
There are some passages that defied belief. Lionel is hidden as he watches Marauders, and at one point these guys who are starving, hear him move and peer into the darkness but don’t see him. It seems to me that if they’re hungry at worst, it might be a small animal and that’s meat, so why not go look? The reason they wouldn’t go look is because it doesn’t serve the Lionel storyline so the reader must say, “Okay, we’re moving ahead” and go on.
Overall this was a really good novel and I would recommend it to readers who like deeply involved narrations and plotlines as well as dystopian societies and stories of human trials and fragilities. I’m looking forward to reading future works by this author.
Read an excerpt and buy Sun Bleached Winter by D. Robert Grixti on