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Then [Paperback]

Julie Myerson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

14 Jun 2012

A blasted world.

A broken heart.

A shattering betrayal.

Heartlessness has become the law. In the wasted ruins of London, a woman pieces together fragments of her memory. As her past emerges, her own apocalypse begins.

Then is a novel of singular invention and bravery. With it, Julie Myerson has created an echo chamber of the heartbreaking and the terrifying, and an enduring dystopian vision.


Frequently Bought Together

Then + Something Might Happen + Out of Breath
Price For All Three: 19.87

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (14 Jun 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0099554720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099554721
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 339,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julie Myerson is the author of seven novels, including the bestselling Something Might Happen, and three works of non-fiction, including Home: The Story of Everyone Who Ever Lived In Our House, which was dramatised on BBC Radio 4 and her most recent book, The Lost Child. She lives in London and Suffolk with her husband and teenage children.

(Photo credit: Chloe Myerson)

Product Description

Review

"This is writing that takes the breath away... I cannot praise this staggeringly accomplished work highly enough" (Virginia Blackburn Sunday Express)

"Then is a bold, uncompromising book that marks out Myerson as a truly interesting and risk-taking author... grippingly good" (Elizabeth Day Observer)

"Julie Myerson offers a haunting twist on Armageddon... A chillingly persuasive vision of emotional hell" (Adrian Turpin Financial Times)

"An addictively readable feat of imagination" (Lionel Shriver)

"A daring and dazzling performance" (John Harding Daily Mail)

Book Description

An astonishing, apocalyptic new novel, from the author of Something Might Happen.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very bleak 4 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback
I'm not sure if I think this is a good book or not. On one hand I didn't enjoy it and it was quite confusing at times, but on the other it was original and interesting.

The book is centred around an amnesiac woman who is sheltering in a London office building with a few other survivors of an undefined apocalyptic event that leaves the whole city a frozen wasteland. She remembers almost nothing about her past life or the people she is with. It is gradually revealed how she came to be there and more-or-less who she is.

The style of the book is very spartan, with little punctuation (rather like 'The Road' but with breaks for paragraphs etc). This adds to the atmosphere but punctuation is used for a reason, and the lack of it doesn't make the text easy to read sometimes. The story is also very slow to get going, with almost nothing happening in each scene. This gives the feeling of the woman's memory gradually returning in a way that draws the reader in, but can be a bit tedious.

Finally, I pretty much predicted the ending (if you can call it an ending) and I'm still not sure what was real and what was imagined. Maybe that's the point, but I found it frustrating and I can't really see the point of it all.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Bleak 5 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback
Then is not a post-apocalyptic survival story. The apocalyptic event, which is never fully explained, that led to London becoming a frozen wasteland sets the scene for the story, but this is far more a literary mystery than a story of survival.

The writing style itself is quite difficult to get used to - it's quite bleak and time shimmers between the past and the present from paragraph to paragraph - this is a book that I had to pay real attention to, otherwise I would have been constantly lost.

Isobel has survived the event, simply described only as an unseasonably hot day that after a flash of light turns the world cold, and is sheltering in an office building with a man, and three teenagers. Having lost her memory, and continuing to have some kind of amnesia, she initially has no recollection of the event, or even of what has occurred just hours before. She is not particularly likable as a character, mainly because she has no memories to form a personality, likes or dislikes, and as she cannot remember nor really even distinguish between dreams and reality, she has an almost ghost-like quality.

Other characters fade in and out as the story progresses, and the whole book has a very ethereal but disjointed feeling. The ending is particularly poignant, but this book has no real resolution, which almost makes it a little bit too clever for its own good. This is not a fun read, nor action-packed, but I did like the ghostly, discombobulated feel. Yep, I've been waiting years to use that word!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book you won't forget 10 Oct 2012
By LizM
Format:Paperback
A book that will suck you in. I read it partly in my lunch breaks and then found it hard to come back into the 'real' world afterwards. Know 2 other people who have read it - one, a man, just didn't get it - the other a woman, got it as I did and loved it as I did. A lot to take in and, yes, it is pretty depressing at times, but I found it totally gripping and it is definitely a book I will not forget! If you like something a bit unusual then read it!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brave, challenging but a failure 20 Sep 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I keep hoping Julie Myerson will write another book as good as 'Something might Happen' This is not it. That is not because it is difficult, challenging or bleak, all of which it is, it is because to me, in my opinion, it does not really get into that place we all long for a writer to take us. It is hard for me to describe this, but what I mean is whether its 'just' a thriller or an airport novel for the time that I am reading a book I want to be out of myself, unaware of my own present reality and enthralled.
'Then' is set in a broken and semi deserted frozen London, the great monuments to greed, the shiny towers of the City are empty, more than that cannot be said partly for spoiler reasons and partly because a lot of things are not clear. The opening sentence is as follows' Sometimes in the middle of winter, the temperature drops so low that animals bite off their own tails and small birds come falling down out of the sky.'

I love that sentence and was excited and expected something scintillating but the rest of the book does not live up to the expectations either in story or character
There is a lot about mother love as in other Myserson novels the agony of it and what lengths a mother will go to in the name of love, in this case unspeakable lengths.There are bitingly agonising description of all manner of suffering by human and animals and yet...to me it didn't work. It obviously worked for others I have read their reviews and know of their tears but to me it doesn't cut it.

There is a lot of sparse but clever prose but I felt distanced I want to be immersed in a book not constantly feeling I should admire this smart metaphor or that intricate little piece of description. The writing style is too much for the substance. I am not dismissing this novel but I would say it is of unusually narrow appeal. it seems like a laboratory experiment by the author which I hope is not repeated
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly chilling tale 5 Jun 2011
By D. P. Mankin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a disturbingly chilling yet enthralling read. It packs a powerful emotional punch as the story unfolds through the eyes of the principal character. Her unreliable and fragmented memory is what drives the novel. But she is a difficult character to like. This, coupled with Julie Myerson's sparse style of prose, may frustrate anyone who prefers a more conventional story-telling approach. But for me it works brilliantly. The fact that it is often unclear what is real and what is imagined is what gives the story so much suspense. Are her memories of a past life real or simply fantasy, a way of coping with the post-apocalyptic wasteland? I read the novel over 24 hours because I needed to find out if my developing interpretation of the plot was correct (to say any more would give away too much and I don't like `spoiler alerts' as a review device). Overall, this is a highly recommended literary page turner.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Chillingly good!
A post-apocalyptic tale, initially confusing and strange to begin with, however as the story unfolds and things start to fall into place it becomes more and more disturbing. Read more
Published 7 months ago by hippy mum
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling
A very difficult read but well worth it. This is a believable story which takes place after a terrible world disaster.
Published 11 months ago by Ms. Susan J. Cooper
4.0 out of 5 stars Bewildering but compelling dystopian tale
Definitely the most memorable novel I've read for a few years and one I've needed to talk about and urge others to read. Read more
Published 12 months ago by SEAPWilliams
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and haunting
I'm about two-thirds of the way through and I've had these thoughts in my head for some time and I feel I need to record them now. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
2.0 out of 5 stars A letdown
I'd not read any of this author's books but had enjoyed her contributions to The Review on BBC-2 on Fridays. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Robert John
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment
The blurb and cover drew me in, dystopian London - what's not to like about that? Well, quite a lot it seems. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Elizabeth H. Walter
5.0 out of 5 stars Myerson - brilliant again
This is a very original and totally absorbing book in my opinion. Myerson always keeps you guessing and this was no exception. Read more
Published on 13 April 2012 by Holly Jack
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read
This post apocalptic world is expressed in the first person with crisp dialogue and the author paints observation with a skill that gives scenes a great gritty realism. Read more
Published on 20 Feb 2012 by R. C. Harris
3.0 out of 5 stars A valiant effort, very readable
I've been trying to decide why there has been a recent glut of novels and films or TV shows which depict post apocalyptic scenarios. Read more
Published on 3 Feb 2012 by R. A. Davison
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