ELLE (Canada) - - Radar - BY EMILY ST. JOHN MAN­DEL

Emily St. John Man­del wants you to know that her lat­est novel isn’t the typ­i­cal postapoc­a­lyp­tic de­spair fest. “It’s ac­tu­ally very hope­ful,” she says while tip­ping her hat re­spect­fully to Cor­mac McCarthy’s The Road. Man­del’s fourth book fol­lows a trav­el­ling troupe of Shake­spearean per­form­ers scrab­bling out an ex­is­tence in a pan­demic-dev­as­tated world (no elec­tric­ity, no gaso­line, no...gasp...Face­book). But it isn’t a so­cial cri­tique: “I thought that an in­ter­est­ing way to con­sider the mod­ern world is to write about its ab­sence. The book is a kind of love let­ter in the form of a re­quiem.” She spent a lot of time on sur­vival­ist fo­rums while re­search­ing the book, but this Cana­dian now liv­ing in New York hasn’t ac­tu­ally given much thought to her own dis­as­ter-pre­pared­ness plan. “I would prob­a­bly take im­prac­ti­cal things, like photo al­bums,” she says, “be­cause in the end you need the things that will keep you sane.”

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