Hannah and her family live in Sydney when Manba, a virus that manifests like a cold, begins to devestate the population around them. Hannah is prepared though and Before this is over follows her journey for self and family preservation as she strives to protect herself and those she loves most.

I’ve read reviews that talk about the stress of this book and I have to wonder, why does this storyline impact us so much?  For I too felt the stress but could ultimately at the end step back and realise this as what it is, for now, a work of fiction. There are many books out there, science fiction, psychological thrillers, detective mysterys e.t.c that could quite easily slip into becoming reality. The truth is a well developed country has not yet had to fight an infection on this scale. So why do we panic when reading this?

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because Hickie is a master at writing us into the story. We are Hannah. We are the woman next door, the man down the street. We are Hannah’s children, her friend, her sister… We can easily slip into these roles and believe these roles because Hickie is so good at what she does. A book that makes you feel to that extent is a masterpiece.

I would love to see this become a film, but I fear that pandemic’s have been overdone and it might turn into a copycat. The book is anything but a copycat of course, but I fear that Hickie’s way with words and skill at pulling us in would not convey on the big screen when twisted at the hands of some director. Nevertheless, as a book this is amazing and nothing short of an infectious masterpiece.

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