“A Quiet Apocalypse” stands full square in the tradition of the genre. By its very definition, such literature requires that the population becomes somehow depleted or wiped out, triggering a reptilian-brained imperative amongst the remnant to establish control. New hierarchies. Only the fittest survive, the most ruthless, the most brutal; its main characters having to dig deep to unearth the savagery required to endure.
Its ‘heroes’ are generally progressive thinkers, unequipped for the new status-quo; unable to adjust, perpetually heartbroken at the betrayals of which humankind is capable, flatlining their responses to keep under the radar. Through their lenses, they question the very nature of human motivation; what lies at our core once stripped of the structures that have nurtured us; they question how those very same structures might have brought the disaster to pass in the first place.
Survival at any cost?
Chris, the central character of “A Quiet Apocalypse” is already a survivor. He has escaped the scourge that has come upon the world and is now a valuable commodity. He is needed because others believe they cannot survive without his kind (a misconception?) and in this nightmare world – made so poignantly domestic within its Birmingham/Cathedral setting – he is hunted, brutalised, imprisoned.
So he finds a way to adapt. And it’s shocking and heartbreaking, because we are personally involved with the man and his story. And that comes down to the quality of the writing.
In one sense, this story is a road well travelled by Orwell, Atwood, O’Brien, MacArthy and countless others. But that’s okay, because Dave Jeffery walks with them, adds to the canon with a unique premise: another writerly star in our firmament.
It’s also a bloody good read.
The end is hear…
A mutant strain of meningitis has wiped out most of mankind. The few who have survived the fever are now deaf. Bitter with loss and terrified to leave the city known as Cathedral, the inhabitants rely on The Samaritans, search teams sent out into the surrounding countryside. Their purpose, to hunt down and enslave the greatest commodity on Earth, an even smaller group of people immune to the virus, people who can still hear. People like me. My name is Chris. This is my story.
“A Quiet Apocalypse is told from the perspective of ex-schoolteacher Chris, a hearing survivor. He has lost everything, including his freedom, and through his eyes we learn of what it is like to live as a slave in this terrible new world of fear and loss. I was keen to write a piece that preyed upon people’s traditional misconceptions of deafness as an illness, and the imposition of ‘hearing’ norms. It is a story that has poignancy in any understanding of the struggles of minority groups.” – Author, Dave Jeffery