The Death of Grass
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The Death of Grass

John Christopher, Robert Macfarlane

At first the virus wiping out grass and crops is of little concern to John Custance. It has decimated Asia, causing mass starvation and riots, but Europe is safe and a counter-virus is expected any day. Except, it turns out, the governments have been lying to their people. When the deadly disease hits Britain, society starts to descend into barbarism. As John and his family try to make it across country to the safety of his brother’s farm in a hidden valley, their humanity is tested to its very limits. A chilling psychological thriller and one of the greatest post-apocalyptic novels ever written, The Death of Grass shows people struggling to hold on to their identities as the familiar world disintegrates - and the terrible price they must pay for surviving. With a new Introduction by Robert MacFarlane ‘Gripping … of all fiction’s apocalypses, this is one of the most haunting.’ Financial Times Rachael Love, Penguin Classics Editorial Assistant, on The Death of Grass- ‘The Death of Grass is more than just a sci-fi novel. It’s incredibly prescient - in an age now where we obsess over global responsibility, the destruction of the environment and world-wide pandemics - The Death of Grass was ahead of its time. The novel sits happily alongside The Day of the Triffids - Wyndham’s novel about genetic engineering and giant vengeful plants, but it also sits nicely next to Golding’s Lord of the Flies, which was written in response to post-war complacency about superior morality. Christopher’s novel picks up speed as the characters begin to have to fight for their lives, paralleling the speed at which, it could be said, their morality disintegrates. The latter half of the novel is about the luxury of morality in the face of fighting for survival; about theft and murder and rape. It’s about the family unit, private law, group politics and survival of the fittest. A real page-turner!’

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