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The Resource The things that keep us here, Carla Buckley

The things that keep us here, Carla Buckley

Label
The things that keep us here
Title
The things that keep us here
Statement of responsibility
Carla Buckley
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
When a deadly pandemic strikes, Ann Brooks's town is locked down and, as time passes, she is forced to confront her failing marriage and fight for survival as resources dwindle and neighbor turns against neighbor
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • In her first novel, Buckley delivers a medical thriller with a very credible premise. When research scientist Peter Brooks is called to the site of a massive duck die-off, he immediately suspects that their bucolic midwestern town has been invaded by the avian flu. Peter knows the virus is equally harmful to animals and humans, has a fatality rate of 50 percent, and has no vaccine. The town is immediately thrown into an uproar as schools are closed and grocery stores are overrun by panicked customers. Peter moves back in with his estranged wife and two daughters, and the family hunkers down, in total survival mode. Soon, however, the electricity fails, the family runs out of food, and the adults are faced with some stark life-and-death decisions as their neighbors sicken and die. Although Buckley’s prose, at least initially, is sometimes awkward, her story gradually gains depth and momentum, operating both as a psychological profile of a family under duress and as a scary, gripping look at the effects of a pandemic. For fans of Robin Cook, Michael Palmer, and Daniel Kalla. -- Wilkinson, Joanne (Reviewed 12-01-2009) (Booklist, vol 106, number 7, p31)
  • A timely premise can't quite compensate for structural deficiencies in Buckley's lackluster debut novel. Ann Brooks and her family have anticipated the possibility of pandemic avian flu for months; Ann's estranged husband, Peter, after all, has been researching the mysterious illness at his university research job. When the flu—with a near-50% fatality rate—closes in on the Columbus, Ohio, home where Ann and her two daughters live, Peter and his exotically beautiful Ph.D. student, Shazia, move in to pool resources, but desperation grows as heat, food and water dwindle, and the threat of death looms (sometimes literally) on their doorstep. Although pseudoscientific reports and news bulletins add to the novel's “ripped from the headlines” feel, emotional revelations are handled less skillfully. A tragedy in Ann and Peter's past, after numerous veiled allusions, is finally revealed in an unsatisfying throwaway in the epilogue. The third-person narration squanders the tensions among Ann, Peter and Shazia, resulting in flat and unsurprising epiphanies. Although Buckley raises important questions about trust, loyalty and forgiveness, the narrative flaws detract from the overall effect. (Feb.) --Staff (Reviewed October 19, 2009) (Publishers Weekly, vol 256, issue 42, p32)
  • Medical thriller meets domestic drama in this timely debut. Peter and Ann Brooks are a divorcing couple struggling to maintain civility for the sake of their young daughters when the unthinkable happens: a virulent outbreak of avian flu quickly burgeons into a pandemic. As their Ohio town goes into lockdown, Peter returns to his family with his beautiful graduate assistant in tow. Sequestered in their suburban home, this group must band together to face a world gone suddenly chaotic, where food is scarce, utilities fail, and neighbors attack one another for a tankful of gas. With crisp writing and taut pacing, Buckley spins a convincing apocalyptic vision that's both frightening and claustrophobic, although she handles the human drama less adroitly. The emotional baggage in the Brookses' troubled marriage feels contrived, and the ending falls flat, but it's a great ride up to that point. VERDICT Despite structural flaws, this vivid depiction of suburban America gone bad is riveting. It has the potential for broad appeal and could attract fans of authors as diverse as Jodi Picoult, Robin Cook, and P.D. James. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/09.]—Jeanne Bogino, New Lebanon Lib., NY --Jeanne Bogino (Reviewed January 15, 2010) (Library Journal, vol 135, issue 1, p86)
  • A pandemic, a catastrophic snowstorm, a massive power outage and social breakdown play out in the microcosm of a Columbus, Ohio, suburb.Finally, the other viral shoe has dropped: an influenza strain that, like the 1918 flu, combines human, avian and porcine antigens to deadly effect. H5N1, which first manifests in mass die-offs of migrating fowl, is so virulent that it threatens to wipe out 50 percent of humanity. University research veterinarian Peter Brooks and his fetching Egyptian grad assistant Shazia are among the scientists playing a familiar losing game of vaccine catch-up when Ohio is quarantined and everyone is ordered to go into isolation at home with their families. But Peter lives apart from wife Ann and their two daughters; the marriage never recovered from their infant son's unexplained crib death a decade earlier. Just after Thanksgiving, a blizzard strikes, followed by blackout. Fighting supermarket crowds, Ann hoards enough food to last weeks. Peter and Shazia move in, much to Ann's discomfiture, although she never confronts Peter about his suspected affair, not even when Shazia starts showing signs of pregnancy. At first it seems their area will be spared. Then a neighbor's child dies. Information filters through: The hospital is overloaded, the morgue has shut down and the local ice rink is being used to store bodies. The social fabric is shredding. Quarantine and paranoia preclude cooperation outside family boundaries, and there's no Internet or cell-phone service. (Tellingly, the landline is the last to fail.) Ann's best friend Libby, last seen trying to eject husband Smith from her SUV, shows up weeks later on the Brooks' doorstep, coughing ominously and begging the family to take her six-month-old baby. Newcomer Buckley pulls many punches, downplaying in particular the chaos that could ensue following a total infrastructure collapse, and sets up the novel's surprise final twists by deliberately misleading the reader.Mawkish prose and blatantly contrived plot developments make this a disappointing debut. (Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2010)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
336094
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Buckley, Carla
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
Interest level
UG
Literary form
fiction
Reading level
4.2
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader AR
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Dysfunctional families
  • Epidemics
  • Suburbs
  • Dysfunctional families
  • Epidemics
  • Suburbs
Label
The things that keep us here, Carla Buckley
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
758780
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
406 pages
Isbn
9780440245094
Lccn
2009041995
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780440245094
  • (OCoLC)422760116
Label
The things that keep us here, Carla Buckley
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
758780
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
406 pages
Isbn
9780440245094
Lccn
2009041995
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780440245094
  • (OCoLC)422760116

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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