Tuesday 8 January 2019

Book ~ "The Last Hockey Player" (2018) Bretton Loney

From Goodreads ~ After society crumbles, walking alone in the Canadian winter tempts death in a hundred ways. Epidemics have killed most of mankind, forcing people to flee the cities and live off the land. 

A professional hockey player travels across the wreckage of North America to find his mother and sister. He stumbles into a Nova Scotia village of survivors and finds family but not where he expected. 

"The Last Hockey Player" explores what remains when society collapses and is burned away, and what defines Canadians no matter what happens. 

About 20 years ago, a couple viruses wiped out about three-quarters of the world's population.  Those who survived now live in small villages with barely anything from their old lives but their memories and a few prized possessions.  They have learned to live off the land and pass on their knowledge to the younger people.

Hockey Player has been travelling from the United States where he was a professional hockey player (hence his name) when the viruses hit.  He has made his way back to Nova Scotia, where his mother and sister lived, in hopes of connecting with them, though he hasn't seen them in about twenty years and has no idea if they are even alive.  Once he arrives in Nova Scotia, he spends some time in the village of The Barn before intending to move on to find his family.  There he becomes part of the community as he gets to know The Apprentice (a thirteen year old boy), The Leader and others.  In addition to trading among the villages, hockey is a big deal and the players from the villages play each other.  Hockey Player is able to teach the players of The Barn team hockey skills and he learns more about himself and family as he is there.

This not typically the kind of book I read ... I'm not a big fan of "end of the world" stories.  But because it was written by a Canadian and takes place in Nova Scotia (where I am originally from), I thought I'd give it a go ... and I'm glad I did because, though it took me a bit to get into because of its premise, I ended up liking it and the characters.

I liked the writing style.  It is written in first person perspective primarily in Hockey Player and The Apprentice's voices (the chapters are labeled).  I liked the Canadian references such as a The Barn hockey player named Neil-Young, a dog named Littlest Hobo and the nearest town is Tim-Hortons.  As a head's up, there is swearing, violence and adult activity.

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