Paul Baldowski's Reviews > The Death of Grass

The Death of Grass by John Christopher
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's review
Jul 17, 2011

really liked it
Read from June 16 to July 11, 2011

Having watched, and read, ‘The Road’ and seen films like ‘The Book of Eli’ and ’28 Days Later’, I found ‘Grass’ far more harrowing and grim to read. Written in 1952 and very much a vision of the time, the story deals with a small group seeking a home, driven away from the rapidly declining state of society in the face of the progressive and possibly irreversible demise of all grass stocks. Without basic food stuffs and common land animals (due to lack of feed), the population face starvation and death in just a few short months in a world-spanning disaster. Within days all vestige of society, even in Britain, melts away. Law has no place and the rule of the mob and the gang, backed by possession of firearms, becomes the new order.

Given the historical truth of the time, of a Britain struggling with rationing in the wake of the Second World War, the visions of ‘Grass’ are not so hard to grasp. And yet, the brutality and barbarism portrayed make for uneasy reading at times. The group, led by John Custance, all too easily adjust to their new situation - perhaps too easily. Having the inside word on the situation, from a friend with links into the Government, John and his companions leave London before complete lockdown. They travel in convoy, seeing the way the Chung-Li virus has robbed the countryside of vegetation and animals.

'Grass' isn't a long novel and the story has just the right balance of drama and character. At times the story can throw up quite a surprise, and as I drew closer to the end of the story I found myself propelled toward the finish with increasing concern that it wouldn't end well at all. I thoroughly recommend this one.
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