The Blue Book of Nebo (pre-order)


The Blue Book of Nebo | Manon Steffan Ros | 9781913102784 | Publishing 6th January 2022

Dylan was six when The End came, back in 2018; when the electricity went off for good, and the ‘normal’ 21st-century world he knew disappeared. Now he’s 14 and he and his mam have survived in their isolated hilltop house above the village of Nebo in north-west Wales, learning new skills, and returning to old ways of living. Despite their close understanding, the relationship between mother and son changes subtly as Dylan must take on adult responsibilities. And they each have their own secrets, which emerge as, in turn, they jot down their thoughts and memories win a found notebook – the Blue Book of Nebo.

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1 review for The Blue Book of Nebo (pre-order)

  1. Wyn Lewis

    A post-apocalyptic novel set in the year 2026, “The Blue Book of Nebo” tells the story of Dylan, his mother, Rowenna, and baby Mona who eke out a living in the isolated village of Nebo in north-west Wales, learning new skills, and returning to the old ways of living. They are surviving in the aftermath of a catastrophe that Rowenna names “The End”, when the electricity went off for good following a nuclear war, and life changed forever. Despite the close relationship between them, the mother/son dynamic changes as Dylan must look after the family unit. Both of them have secrets, and these secrets are revealed as they record their thoughts and memories in a found notebook – the Blue Book of Nebo. Dylan writes about “now” and his mother writes about the “olden days and The End”. They agree not to read what the other writes…”in case”, but Dylan doesn’t know what that means.
    Dylan is too young to fully remember the time before and just after The End and things like computers and mobile phones which his mother took for granted; he measures distances in “steps” as this is a measurement directly related to his daily experience of getting from A to B. Dylan’s “voice” is simple and unfussy, strongly evoking a life of hardship and necessity. But he is intelligent, resourceful and mature beyond his years, and he eventually realises that he “fits” into this new life.
    Rowena’s sections speak of the breakdown of society and panic buying in supermarkets, which resonates strongly with our current times. Rowenna is remarkably resourceful when The End comes, but she is permanently affected by it; she has been hardened and her sections are quite heartbreaking to read as we learn the truth about what happened to her after The End.
    Translated from the original Welsh-language edition, which was awarded Welsh Book of the Year in 2019, this book resonates with me as a native of that country, and many Welsh books are mentioned in the story; there is also a subtext about the loss of the Welsh language. Dylan loves to read and books are almost like characters in this story. The writing throughout is spare, concise and affecting. This is described as a YA novel, but the story transcends that rather restrictive tag by being quite harrowing in parts, and can be enjoyed by an older audience. Terrific and memorable in any language, with a profound ending, “The Blue Book of Nebo” is an absolute triumph.

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