Edgar Hill loves his wife and children, but he purposefully works late and drinks every night. Then the end of the world changes everything. Separated from his family by the entire longitude of England, Edgar must find his way across the devastated and anarchic landscape before time runs out and he loses them forever. Thrust together with a small cadre of survivors also left-behind, Ed is the first to decide that their best hope is to run.

The End of the World Running Club is an uplifting post-apocalyptic search for one man’s family. As Edgar learns how to be a runner, he learns lessons of patience, persistence, celebrating small victories, and sometimes just pushing through the pain. The journey forces Edgar to reflect on his life and his priorities, and it’s clear every step not only brings him closer to his family physically, but also brings Edgar closer to being a better father and husband.

As a character, Edgar grows a lot, even displaying physical resourcefulness fairly early in the story, but he sees himself as weak, which in turn makes the reader think of Edgar of weak. He moans a lot. Essentially, he’s not the most fun nor interesting character in this story. There are a smattering of great apocalyptic scenes, some more played out than others, but my favorites include the teen mom who lures travelers with fire only to murder them and take their supplies, the old man on a country estate with an entire wine cellar all to himself, and the religious group ritually drowning their flock.

I enjoy the postulation that “getting back to nature” is a fallacy that many believe will make their lives more enjoyable. Society has evolved for good reason and shelters us from illness, filth, and famine, just to name a few. “Living a simpler life” in the country with the solar panels, organically grown and homemade food, and muddy boots is not an escape from the machine; it’s just another cog, and really only available to a select few.

The book is set in the UK, with a lot of references to cities in England, Wales, and Scotland, accents and dialects, motorways and tea, but there are couple of phrases that jarred me out of the story, including chip packets and lines, which may have been altered for the American version from crisps packets and queues.

Highly recommended for new parents and runners who also enjoy dystopian scifi!

Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

“That beast inside you, the one you think is tethered tightly to the post, the one you’ve tamed with art, love, prayer, meditation: it’s barely muzzled. The knot is weak. The post is brittle. All it takes is two words and a siren to cut it loose.”