I’m not sure how I stumbled upon Wool, a New York Times Best-seller that began life as a self-published short story on the internet by author Hugh Howey. (My mother, blessing that she is, is known to send me boxes now and again with books that, to my chagrin, often include only one part of a series…typically, the 2nd book. So she would be my guess on this one!) Frankly, it sat on my bookshelf for quite some time as it was an omnibus version and I knew I’d need to be ready to take on the commitment of such a weighty tome (500+ pages). But once I started, I had a hard time putting it down!
It takes place in a “silo” that, unlike the traditional grain storage buildings I remember from the rural landscapes of Indiana, stretches hundreds of stories underground rather than soaring above it. It is a self-contained world because, as soon becomes a key element of the story, the world outside the silo is no longer fit for human life. But amidst the hustle and bustle of what seems to be a remarkably functional new world, there is heartache and tension and some potentially silo-shattering secrets.
Book Two of the series, Shift, actually represents a flashback to the creation and early years of life in the Silo. Here we will discover (sort of) how it all began. And Book Three, Dust, returns to where Wool left off, bringing the series to what I found to be a surprising and dramatic resolution.
I enjoyed Mr. Howey’s writing. It was straightforward, fluid and approachable…he is a very good story-teller. If there were gaps in his narrative, or loose ends that remained untied, I can’t bring any to mind at this time. Not being a huge reader of the Sci-Fi genre- and I question this categorization given that many of the technologies described already exist or are close at hand- I found his take on the oft-told, post-apocalyptic plot line to be refreshing. But more knowledgeable readers are welcome to chime in to the contrary!
Bottom line is that though it was a slog in the sense that these are now omnibus editions and thus quite lengthy, you will not be sorry once you embark on this journey. In many ways, these are characters that, unlike in typical “aftermath tales”, are average folk like you and I. This versus the extraordinary heroes and villains we often find among those who have been surviving in a harsh world. If there are lessons to take away, or points upon which to reflect, I think for this reason one will find these much more digestible, and therefore, also more profound.
Have you read the series? Tell me what you think!