The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of the End of Men by debut author, Christina Sweeney-Baird. Thank you to Borough Press for a gifted copy and to Tandem Collective for inviting me to join in with the read-a-long this week.

Synopsis:

GLASGOW, 2025.  Dr Amanda Maclean is called to treat a young man with a mild fever. Within three hours he dies. The mysterious illness sweeps through the hospital with deadly speed. This is how it begins.

The victims are all men.

Dr Maclean raises the alarm, but the sickness spreads to every corner of the globe. Threatening families. Governments. Countries.

Can they find a cure before it’s too late? Will this be the story of the end of the world – or its salvation?

Compelling, confronting and devastating, The End of Men is the novel that everyone is talking about.

My thoughts:

Having seen lots of chat about this book on social media over the past few months, I was very grateful to receive a beautiful hardback copy to read and review for my Bookstagram page (@karenkisreading) and this book blog.

About 17 months ago we started hearing about a virus in China, three months later we were watching Prime Minister Johnson telling us that we had to stay home to protect the NHS. This book was written before the pandemic hit (I’m not sure how much editing happened after lockdown), but to have this idea pre-Covid does seem a bit spooky.

As in our own global pandemic, in the story mistakes were made, lockdowns didn’t happen quickly enough and world travel continued for too long, with fatal results. We meet a wide variety of characters, the majority of them are women, all at different stages in their lives and all dealing with the consequences of the virus.

I have seen some reviewers pointing out that certain life situations weren’t considered but I think the author did an excellent job to look at so many different elements of how life changed in this book, not just in the UK but across the world.

This is not a ‘I hate men’ book, the women who lost their sons, fathers, partners suffered immense grief and often guilt, that they were probably the carrier of the virus that killed their loved ones. It is a ‘what if’ book – looking at how life would change if we had a very uneven male to female ratio. How would schools, governments, businesses continue, especially in male dominated career areas and countries?

I found this an enjoyable and thought provoking read, and I’ve enjoyed discussing it with family and on social media. This could be a great book club book, with so many discussion points. A stunning debut novel and I look forward to reading more by Christina Sweeney-Baird in the future.

Author Bio (from Amazon):

I wrote The End of Men in 2018 and 2019 before Corona virus and could never have expected the parallels between the real world and my fiction that would ensue. I’ve been told by some early readers though, that The End of Men has made them feel better about the world we live in today. The book has a lot of hope and is, ultimately, about human resilience and our ability to cope with the extraordinary. 

I live in London where I work full-time as a corporate litigation lawyer. I write 1,000 words a day in the evenings and on weekends, fuelled by 7up Free, green tea and snacks.

By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.

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