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Praise for Last Ones Left Alive: The 'fiercely feminist, highly imaginative debut' - Observer

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Book Review: The Last Ones Left Alive – Sarah Davis-Goff

The female group of Banshees, women trained in extreme survivalist combat are the supporting stronghold of this novel. I must admit that I disliked the Banshees and their lack of humanity. However, the need for Banshees grew out of a world controlled by violent men, so perhaps they needed to solidify their hard shells further, in order to succeed. Many women in our society would argue that in order to excel, a hard shell is needed in order to be accepted and respected.

We are similarly armed but with education and self confidence. To allow anyone to tackle those on us is to allow the metaphorical skrakes to attack us.

Only Lovers Left Alive (2014) Official Trailer

I ordinarily intensely dislike zombie plots based on a last man standing premise. Sarah Davis-Goff brings something unique and bespoke to the literary scene. The rich landscape of Ireland is appreciated by us, even as it provides a backdrop to death and the dissipation of hope. Her use of language is intense and visual, and the frequent references to actual Irish place names lends a horrific reality to the text where we cheer Orpen and her wheelbarrow on from every page.

Bleak, quiet, with the stark visuals of road signs pointing the way, we see an Ireland, which in the wrong hands could see man against man, savagely combating for survival. Sarah Davis-Goff has introduced something very powerful and novel into the Irish scene and the accessibility of her writing style means that a new market has opened up for readers.

Order your copy online here. Debut novelist Davis-Goff creates an atmospheric drama in which zombies called skrake are both plot device and metaphor, and she throws in some gender exploration along the way. Orpen, a young woman raised on an island off the coast of Ireland by lesbian mothers, has never known other people. Her birth mother, Muireann, and Muireann's lover, Maeve, ran away from Phoenix City before her birth, and together they created an idyllic childhood for Orpen in an abandoned village on the island.

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  • As Orpen grows up, her mothers begin to train her to be a warrior of sorts, able to defend herself against what they say are the three most fearsome things: other people, skrake, and men. But when a series of tragedies strike and Orpen ends up trying to find Phoenix City alone, she meets a man, a pregnant woman, and a small girl on the road, and plenty of adventure and emotional turmoil ensue. Orpen learns to confront not only the harsh reality of the world in which she lives, but the inherent human need for connection.

    The lone male character, however, flattens the female characters and does not seem necessary. There was a problem adding your email address.

    Isolation, Violence, and Body Horror: Sarah Davis-Goff’s Last Ones Left Alive |

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