A virus has hit the world and greatly diminished its population. Those that are left range between levels of blindness and being unable to breathe, but one group in particular has banded together with the intention of surviving. The Skulls, full of crazy nicknames and with strict rules about never speaking of the past. Their leader, Mister Touch, wants them to make a journey from New York to Arizona, but with a laundry list of disabilities and trauma, can they hope to make it?
This is probably the most hopeful apocalypse you’ll ever have the good fortune to read. The world is not in good shape, for sure. Most of the survivors are now disabled in some way. Most of them didn’t really have much to offer the world before a virus destroyed it, much less after. Yet this book is all about people finding where they belong, surviving against the odds, moving forward and refusing to inhabit the past, and overcoming adversity. There is darkness to be found here and villains, because there is no such thing as a good story without conflict, but there’s a spirit of hope that suffuses this book and glows from it all the same.
It’s easy to make comparisons between Mister Touch and The Stand by Stephen King. Rest assured that both have a lot to offer, different and similar things, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that Mister Touch stands on its own. It’s not particularly supernatural, not at all, so don’t approach it waiting for a Randall Flagg or Mother Abigail to show up. What it offers is a more realistic approach, humanistic in the same way as The Stand, but unique.
The cast of characters was huge, and there was an appendix that named them all with a blurb about their story, but I found I didn’t need it. Bosse managed to make each of them so themselves and smoothly reminded us within the text of their importance. There was never any confusion on my part, and the fact that he did juggle all those people so well deserves some applause.
I thought this book was wonderful. I’m sure I’m making that plain. It was raw and yet touching, hopeful but not saccharine. I was moved, but I never felt manipulated into being moved. That’s a rare thing, and this book is so ignored and forgotten that I urge anyone reading this review to track down a copy and give it a shot.