“This isn’t merely a novel about a plague; this is a novel about family and parenthood, about loss and regret, about momentary connection and lingering solitude. . . . Given the strengths of the book, and Nawaz’s gifts as a writer, Songs for the End of the World was always going to be a great novel, no matter when it was published. Appearing now, however, it also serves as a pool of warm light in the darkness.” – Toronto Star
“Both a lovely novel—haunting, morally nuanced and oddly hopeful—and a remarkably prescient portrait of our current situation.” – Maclean’s
"Powerful. . . . Songs for the End of the World would be a riveting read at any time with its rich array of inter-connected stories, featuring characters in a wide variety of time periods and places. . . . There is definitely a hopeful message and, though it doesn't gloss over the dark side of how we react to a horrible catastrophe, in the end it's all about people coming together in the darkest of times." — Montreal Gazette
“A total page-turner . . . Surprisingly hopeful to read . . .”
– Becky Toyne, CBC Radio’s Day 6
"Astounding. . . . The book is surprisingly reassuring. If someone could have imagined what we're going through in such vivid details, it somehow makes the situation less scary, less predictable, more knowable." — The Globe and Mail
"In these dark days, Saleema Nawaz dares to write of hope. Songs for the End of the World is a loving, vivid, tenderly felt novel about men, women, and a possible apocalypse. I couldn't put it down." — Sean Michaels, author of Us Conductors and The Wagers
About Songs for the End of the World
From the award-winning, Canada Reads-shortlisted author of Bone and Bread comes a spellbinding and immersive novel about the power of community and the triumph of human connection, as the bonds of love, family, and duty are tested by an impending pandemic.
How quickly he'd forgotten a fundamental truth: the closer you got to the heart of a calamity, the more resilience there was to be found.
This is the story of a handful of people who find themselves living through an unfolding catastrophe.
Elliot is a first responder in New York, a man running from past failures and struggling to do the right thing. Emma is a pregnant singer preparing to headline a benefit concert for victims of the outbreak--all while questioning what kind of world her child is coming into. Owen is the author of a bestselling plague novel with eerie similarities to the real-life pandemic. As fact and fiction begin to blur, he must decide whether his lifelong instinct for self-preservation has been worth the cost.
As the novel moves back and forth in time, we discover these characters' ties to one another and to those whose lives intersect with theirs, in an extraordinary web of connection and community that reveals none of us is ever truly alone. Linking them all is the mystery of the so-called ARAMIS Girl, a woman at the first infection site whose unknown identity and whereabouts cause a furor.
Written and revised between 2013 and 2019, and brilliantly told by an unforgettable chorus of voices, Saleema Nawaz's glittering novel is a moving and hopeful meditation on what we owe to ourselves and to each other. It reminds us that disaster can bring out the best in people--and that coming together may be what saves us in the end.