Adrian Walker – The End of the World Running Club

(Written before I moved to Edinburgh…)

I’ve only briefly been to Edinburgh once, however, I am going again this year but during the festival. Reading opening pages of the Edinburgh based novel, The End of the World Running Club has, I think, prepared me for the onslaught of what a midAugust Edinburgh during the Fringe may be.

Edgar Hill is approaching middle age, and carrying all the excess weight that the last few years of marriage and kids he didn’t want has given him, when he and his family find themselves trapped in a basement after thousands of asteroids hit the Western Hemisphere. Once rescued from the basement by a depleted army, the family are taken to barracks where they are fed and clothed and they meet other survivors.

As the community grows, and the radios stay silent, thoughts of rescue become distant and they start to prepare for a long stay. Edgar is out gathering food with a few people when a surprise mission to evacuate as many survivors as possible arrive and take his family, and the rest of them, down to Cornwall where they will be shipped to South Africa.

Having his family in a helicopter flying across a now desolate UK unsurprisingly sharpens Edgar’s mind and his family suddenly become his priority. Yet with no hope of hitching a ride on another helicopter, or finding a car that can navigate the broken motorways, Edgar is faced with possible the greatest challenge of his life – jogging…all the way to Cornwall.

This apocalyptic drama is compelling and burns brightly from start to finish, with an intriguing central cast of survivors and some very well written minor characters who keep their epic run more interesting than it sounds