The other day Clark persistently asked if an asteroid was headed to Earth and would it hit us? I said no many many times and each time he asked “how do we know?” I told him that if an asteroid was headed towards earth it would be big news and scientists with their big telescopes would have been tracking it for years and told us about it. And then silently thought, “hmm….well….in the book I just read the scientists keep mum for a while about it” Seriously-I did not talk about this book when I read it, so it was very weird that he would keep asking about it. The premise of the novel is that a baby hears voices even while in utero that let him know the end date of the world (due to an asteroid). That baby becomes Junior, a child who has to grow up with this knowledge. He is not crazy–the ominiscient voices also tell him other things that prove to be true. So he has the certain knowledge that the world will end for everyone in thirty-five years or so. With that knowledge he has to wonder if anything anyone does matters and if life is worth living.
At times this was a difficult book to read. Contemplating the extinction of all life is a pretty sad and heavy thing. And yet, when Junior makes bad decisions and seems to be messing up his life you want better for him. Sometimes funny, always thought provoking, and never maudlin. This stayed with me a long time after I finished it. (And now I want to read his other book, God is Dead.