In Salvation City, Sigrid Nunez (The Last of Her Kind, 2005, etc.) explores with emotional precision what would happen if Americans faced a worse pandemic than the Great Flu of 1918. The author sets the story in the near future, when the elbow bump has replaced the handshake, and bodies are piling up in the streets faster than coroners can wheel them away. Cole Vining, a budding young artist, is still reeling from the loss of his liberal, atheist parents when a preacher and his wife take him home to the rural sanctuary they call Salvation City. “We live in a culture where we keep hearing from these two opposing sides that don’t really listen to each other,” says Nunez. The protagonist finds himself caught between the rise of angry atheists and a powerful evangelical movement. “[Cole] can’t quite bring himself to believe certain things, for example, that his parents are eternally damned to hell,” says Nunez. “But he also doesn’t feel that you can just abandon people who have taken care of you. He has a bond with [his foster parents] that has nothing to do with their beliefs or with anyone’s beliefs. It’s really a bond of love.”
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Riverhead / September / 9781594487668 / $25.95
This book was featured in the Kirkus Best of 2010