Page 45 Review by Stephen
Oh, this is ever so French!
It's not so much the poor lone man with the haunted eyes staring out over the lifeless concrete city, weeping inconsolably... for himself, I suspect!
I can't say that I blame him. It's been four years or so of unbroken solitary... what's the opposite of confinement? Sometimes four small walls must seem a mercy.
It's all there before him, stretching endlessly, emptily, dirtily and a bit broken.
What else is there to do other than rock on a chair, mind-numb, or roam the echoing avenues, passing abandoned communal play areas, unattended gardens, crashed cars and lank electricity lines?
It's as desolate and derelict as an empty outdoor municipal swimming pool - with some of the same, lame, tiny mosaic tiles.
There are small trails of encroaching vegetation in the cracked concrete. I bet the buddleias got there first - they're the worst.
Eventually he finds himself back at his equally unpopulated apartment with its lo-tech radio & car battery attached, calling out to anyone else who isn't there. No reply, obviously.
It wasn't zombies, by the way. It was the insects.
"I just can't get rid of it. That taste of ash in my mouth.
"It reminds me... Reminds me of those Wednesday afternoons.
"My mother would take me over to Mrs. Jones for her madeleines. She was terrifying. So were the madeleines."
Okay, so that's pretty French.
"Burnt to ash. Just like any love for my dad still left in my mother's heart."
Bit of a downer!
"Sadly, for the culinary world, the gentle Mrs. Jones perished in a tragic mishap at the zoo, determined to save a poor adventurous child from the hands of a rutting orang-utan."
No, what's so French about this are the three bickering idiots who "supersede" him.
I don't want to spoil the moment for you, but even his exit is French. Too funny!
There's Jeremiah, the shouty one with spiky blonde hair like some escapee from NARUTO; stern leader Wayne who has set rules and demands discipline except from Soham who doesn't seem to give a shit about anyone or anything anymore. Soham seems to have lost all sense of humanity or connection to it. Although he still looks both ways before crossing a road, even though there hasn't been any traffic for years.
They scour the shops and loot every can that they can. Cans are all that's left. And even they have their sell-by dates.
"Four years... according to this can that's all we have left."
"We never talk about it, but no matter how you cut it, the days on these cans are our expiration date too."
There appear to be no viable crops and no edible animals. Although insects are edible, aren't they? There are an awful lot of those.
It's very much two against one: they almost abandon Jeremiah at one point.
It's a very quiet comic to begin with. Even the "incident" is more of a situation, simply presented to us without any preceding narrative or the most obvious dramatic action that would have got us all going.
The rescue goes unacknowledged. Instead they stand there in silence, in the needle-sharp rain under coloured umbrellas - very French.
Other roof-top, table-top umbrellas blow poetically away in the squall.
That's some seriously lovely rain, that is.