** spoiler alert **
I received this book as part of a First Reads give away.
In the world Hugh Howey creates, people have been forced into underground silos to survive the destruction that's taken place on the surface. Around the silo there are screens that show the world above - brown, dusty, ruined, colorless and lifeless.
The reader is drawn quickly into the silo world as former sheriff Holston climbs the metal steps to his execution. As other readers have noted, the description of the silo is spare. (As a reader, I didn't have trouble creating images of it in my mind. I can see how this world could be developed into a full-blown novel!)
For three years, Holston has been grieving the death of his wife, Allison. She chose to say the fateful words "I want to go outside" - a death sentence. Anyone who says those words are sent outside to clean the lenses but then are eaten away and suffocated by the toxic air. We learn in a flashback that she'd been investigating historical uprisings (one every generation or so) in the old hard drives and computer files. She's investigating who deleted the files and why. Holston asks her, "You're saying that someone wiped out our history to stop us from repeating it?" (pg 21).
Both Allison and Holston choose the same fate. The ending of the book literally took my breath away. It also gave me some food for thought - in my opinion, the trait of a story that's more than a story.
Themes of the book are hope and insanity. Should people hope for a better world? Should people be kept from wanting an alternative?
This story also raises questions about the human spirit. How long can it be repressed without something giving way?
The title reminds me of the phrase "pull the wool over your eyes" which means "to deceive someone intentionally."
This is a short book and it's well worth the time you'd spend reading it!