Jack Womack's Random Acts of Senseless Violence: apocalypse in a young girl's diary


I've written before about my love for Jack Womack's Random Acts of Senseless Violence, a masterful, dark, apocalyptic novel told by means of a young girl's diary. Now, on Tor.com, Alyx Dellamonica has written her own essay about all the reasons to love this extraordinary, and too-often-overlooked novel:

It’s a kid’s eye view of a very believable apocalypse. This isn’t planet death by alien invasion. It isn’t some post-nuclear anime wasteland (though it does feature a few wide-eyed little girls) or a triffid invasion or a rising tide of zombies. This is the story of global economic stupidity taking down the upper middle class, the sort people who have confused having credit cards with being safe from disaster. It’s told by a teenaged girl who starts out by grappling with calamities like Mom having to fire the maid, a girl who has no idea how far her family has, yet, to fall.

It’s a diary. I love a well-written fictional diary, and they are rare treats. It’s a hard form to pull off—sort of the durian ice cream of POV choices—and even when they go for it, many writers settle for just sprinkling a little journal in, here and there, to flavor more traditional narratives. But there’s something so intimate about a person writing just for themselves, imposing order on their reality by writing down their experiences, coming to that understanding of the world around them, just for themselves, and then keeping it secret. There’s power in reading something written by someone who has no apparent intention of sharing a single word.

Surprise, Fear, and an Almost Fanatical Dedication to the Womack