An Electrifying Debut: Read our Review of The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

An Electrifying Debut: Read our Review of The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

Set in a world where a virus stalks our male population, The End of Men is an electrifying and unforgettable debut from a remarkable new talent that asks: what would our world truly look like without men?

The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland – a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic – and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien – a women’s world.

What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus’s consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the male plague; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal – the loss of husbands and sons – to the political changes in the workforce, fertility and the meaning of family.

In certain genres, one of the keys to good writing, and keeping a reader interested, is cruelty – the author needs to be cruel to his or her characters. The bigger the obstacle, the more interesting it is. Christina Sweeney-Baird seems to innately know this, because she takes a blowtorch to many of her characters, and the planet, in this sensational debut.

The End of Men is written in short punchy chapters, each titled with what day it is since patient zero, and each from a different point of view. The novel features multiple characters from around the world, but when reading this I was constantly drawn back to Dr Amanda MacLean, who treats the first man who dies, and then quickly sees the pattern of men being brought into hospital. Her concerns are ignored and both Amanda and the world pay a terrible price.

There is no quick fix here. There is no action hero riding in to save the day. This story plays out over years as men die and the world changes, all while waiting for a vaccine. There are moments of humour – the incel conspiracy theorists come to mind – and moments when I actually felt sick to the stomach; This novel was written pre-covid, where such a concept would’ve seemed preposterous, but look what we know now…

Thought-provoking, heart-wrenching and utterly unputdownable, Christina Sweeney-Baird has written an unforgettable tale of loss, resilience and hope. It might be The End of Men, but it’s just the start of her big writing career.

Reviews

Your Preview Verdict: The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

Review | Preview

12 May 2021

Your Preview Verdict: The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

    A Sensational and Terrifying Debut: Take a Sneak Peek at Christina Sweeney-Baird’s The End of Men

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    11 May 2021

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        Publisher details

        The End of Men
        Author
        Christina Sweeney-Baird
        Publisher
        HarperCollins
        Genre
        Fiction
        Released
        04 August, 2021

        Synopsis

        Glasgow, 2025. Dr Amanda Maclean is called to treat a patient with flu-like symptoms. Within three hours he is dead. This is how it begins.The unknown virus sweeps through the hospital with deadly speed.The victims are all men.Dr Maclean raises the alarm. But by the time the authorities listen to her, the virus has spread to every corner of the world. Threatening families. Governments. Countries.Can they find a cure before it's too late? Can they stopTHE END OF MEN?
        Christina Sweeney-Baird
        About the author

        Christina Sweeney-Baird

        Christina was born in 1993 and grew up between London and Glasgow. She studied Law at the University of Cambridge and graduated with a First in 2015. Christina works as a Corporate Litigation lawyer in London. The End of Men is her first novel.

        Books by Christina Sweeney-Baird

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