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TonyTalbot

TonyTalbot

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Nicholas Nickleby
Charles Dickens, Mark Ford

2/5: The Bunker Diary

The Bunker Diary - Kevin Brooks

Linus Weems wakes to find himself trapped in a sealed bunker, with no means of escape or rescue. His captor gradually adds five more people to his world.

For the first 90% of this book, this was a great premise and I rocketed through it in an afternoon. The gradual addition of the five other people in the bunker, the slow descent into apathy and chaos – every means of escape tried and failed – all of it done with short paragraphs and terse chapters.

Then, for some reason, it all started to fall apart. It’s as if Brooks realised that his honey trap was too perfect, and simply gave up. Much as the characters start to, actually. So it’s the last 10%, including the disappointing ending that dropped this most of its stars.

What ruined it for me was how easily Linus – and more so, Fred – seemed to give up. Fred committing suicide didn’t work for his character. I couldn’t imagine him giving in so easily.

(show spoiler)

 

Along the way, the characters are explored nicely, and there are some deep metaphysical questions, without any answers. The builder of the bunker is never seen or heard, and much like an angry Old Testament God, doles out punishment and rewards as he (she?) sees fit. The characters even begin to assign them a proper noun status. Him upstairs, Him watching us.

And Linus wonders who is reading his diary and what are they doing, a nice metaphysical touch. About ten pages from the end, as his world and structure begin to decay, the page numbers stop, a subconscious touch it took me a few pages to pick up on.

In the end, as in life, the One Pulling The Strings is unknown and unseen. A metaphor for life, then…

and no one gets out alive.

(show spoiler)