Summary: Robert Harris on bleak, civilisation collapsing form
In March 2007 the singer Rhianna released the song Umbrella. This led many to believe, as the TV presenter Rick Edwards (I think) put it, that she was a voodoo devil woman whose song was directly responsible for the wettest, most miserable summer in living memory.
Now I’m not saying that Robert Harris is a warlock. But in 2019 he published The Second Sleep, a book about the aftermath of civilisation’s collapse, in which he mentions that such a collapse may be brought about by, amongst other things, a drug resistant pandemic.
Can it be a coincidence that I write this from a pandemic lockdown?
Some people may be curious to know that the Second Sleep is about a young priest’s investigation in the far, post-event, future into the mysterious death of an older priest. Some may also be interested that it is perhaps Harris’ bleakest book since his story of Nazism triumphant, Fatherland. Like that book The Second Sleep is an elegantly written and gripping thriller in which the initial death proves to be but the loose thread that unravels the veil covering a much greater monstrosity. Some may be interested to know that the other ways in which Harris postulates that civilisation may collapse are nuclear war, climate change, an asteroid strike, a super-volcano eruption (I think he means Yellowstone), or generalised information technology failure.
But all that is beside the point. Robert Harris has cursed us. He is the Rhianna of the Covid-19 generation.