Who says only twenty-somethings survive in the apocalypse?
Author Nick Cole’s story centers on the Old Man, one who lives through the end of the world. He is old and struggling to survive in the southwestern United States decades after war destroyed most of civilization. His usefulness to the rest of his camp of salvagers is measured by his age; the older you are the less you can do, and ultimately you become useless. The Old Man is painfully aware of this as his senses diminish and his strength fails. But he has a prized book, a copy of Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, and relates to the old man in that book as a source of strength to continue on, despite age. The Old Man decides to push out a little more from camp, just a little farther to find that perfect scrap for him and for his fellow salvagers. Along the way he faces natural obstacles such as ravenous animals and weather, and even worse, human obstacles.
We see the Old Man through his thoughts and actions. Cole has fashioned a believable, deep character. This is what draws so many readers. The book isn’t a typical post apocalyptic story of death and destruction. The Introduction in the Revised Edition speaks on that. It’s a story of not quitting regardless of the obstacles. It’s a theme that is universal in all men and is reflected in the feedback Cole has received from readers world-wide.
There are moments of intense situations and some violence (after all, it is post apocalyptic), but no gore. The Old Man has no vulgarity and no sex scenes.
A nice story entertains, but a great story makes us reflect. Nick Cole’s The Old Man and the Wasteland makes us reflect.