Wake – Elizabeth Knox


Chosen by Jo

One sunny spring morning the Tasman Bay settlement of Kahukura is overwhelmed by a mysterious mass insanity. A handful of survivors find themselves cut off from the world, and surrounded by the dead.

➤ “The horror scenes at the beginning of this book were told bluntly and with little emotion – very matter of fact and almost comical with the personally relevant ways in which people died. The psychological interest for me was piqued with the longer story of survival and thinking about the future – I often pondered how I would have coped in the same situation.

“The monster was mysterious and faceless which enabled the story to become so much more than when the horror is known. I’ve always felt a sense of disappointment or that the monster was ridiculous when revealed in other books but this story retained its power with some details but not all, of this particular monster. I felt like I knew the characters at the end and was totally enthralled with the whole story. Another great novel from Elizabeth Knox.” – Jo

➤ “The undefined nature of the monster is the crux of this book. It’s strange how we want to put a face or a name or provide a reason for the wrongdoing – I certainly did while reading Wake. But it was soon apparent that an explanation wasn’t forthcoming, as happens in life, and so I settled into the story of endurance and survival.

“There was a lot of “reading into” that could be done, and so while it was on surface level a kind of an apocalyptic tale of a monster killing its way across the land and the fight by the good people to save mankind, there was so much more to it. The monster could be any number of demons that people face and the survival mode representative of the means to which any of us could go when in dire circumstances. To add to all this, the book was also spookily comical, with a well constructed cast of characters – it covered all the bases and roused every emotion. A fantastic read.” – Rachel

Published 2013
Victoria University Press
445 pages

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