Salvation City (Paperback)
Riverhead Books, 9781594485374, 288pp.
Publication Date: September 6, 2011
October 2010 Indie Next List
— Erin Kurup, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY
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From the critically acclaimed author of The Friend, the 2018 winner of the National Book Award, comes a moving novel that imagines the aftermath of pandemic flu as seen through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old boy uncertain of his destiny.
His family's sole survivor after a flu pandemic has killed large numbers of people worldwide, Cole Vining is lucky to have found refuge with the evangelical Pastor Wyatt and his wife in a small town in southern Indiana. As the world outside has grown increasingly anarchic, Salvation City has been spared much of the devastation, and its residents have renewed their preparations for the Rapture.
Grateful for the shelter and love of his foster family (and relieved to have been saved from the horrid, overrun orphanages that have sprung up around the country), Cole begins to form relationships within the larger community. But despite his affection for this place, he struggles with memories of the very different world in which he was reared. Is there room to love both Wyatt and his parents? Are they still his parents if they are no longer there? As others around him grow increasingly fixated on the hope of salvation and the new life to come through the imminent Rapture, Cole begins to conceive of a different future for himself, one in which his own dreams of heroism seem within reach.
Written in Sigrid Nunez's deceptively simple style, Salvation City is a story of love, betrayal, and forgiveness, weaving the deeply affecting story of a young boy's transformation with a profound meditation on the meaning of belief and heroism.