No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

Challenge #41 ~ “A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction).”

noparkingatthenedtimes

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

It’s hard to say quite where this book places within the challenge. In a way, it was a fiction event – the end of the world didn’t really happen in December 2012 – but on the other hand it was a real enough event for many people, and one (as illustrated by this novel) that still affects people today. Quite where it places, however, is irrelevant – all that matters is that it is a fantastic read that fitted the challenge, and one that raised light on something I’d never really thought about. What happened to the people who did think it was the end of the world, and sacrificed everything?

Bliss’ debut novel was clearly well-researched, and in doing so provided a poignant and thought-provoking look into ideas around homelessness, poverty and religion. Throughout the novel, Bliss maintained a balance that ensured the story was realistic and true to itself, but refrained from simply slating religion or forcing an in-depth evaluation of religion onto the reader. This made it more enjoyable and relatable as a result, appealing to a wider audience and assisting a continued interest throughout. Bliss then went on to complement this with a suite of realistic, relatable and not-too annoying characters that really brought the novel into a reader’s heart.

I will admit that the plot is largely predictable – from the blurb, and the outset really, it’s quite obvious what will unfold in the novel overall (which, I know, has upset many a reader). Yet, I found Bliss handles this quite well, with short plot-points that add extra spice to the novel, and an ending that provided a bit of a twist as well. Sure it’s not some mysterious, edge-of-your-seat thriller, but No Parking at the End Times is an equally valid and enjoyable read that provides an accessible character exploration involving themes of homelessness and poverty in the western world.

I didn’t know I was going to enjoy the novel from the very start, but the idea enamoured me from the blurb, and I was hoping it would be well-explored. I found I wasn’t disappointed with a poignant and honest look at a contemporary situation that (whilst not being packed with suspense) did not simply resort to a monotonous level of action or 2D characterisation. An accessible and stellar read that I would recommend to those from all walks of life.

Recommended for fans of:

  • The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • I Was Here by Gayle Forman
  • Hold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
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