Brooklyn Lawyer Meets Doomsday Preparer on ‘The Survivalist’

In her debut novel, The Survivalist, Kashana Corey uses her social media wit and persuasiveness to see Aretha, a young, perpetually single black lawyer who finds the seemingly perfect man and falls into the world of illegality. I’m drawing how it goes. Firearms and Doomsday Preparedness.

The novel opens with a believable and often relatable portrayal of Aretha’s struggle to fill the void left by her tragically lost parents. But partying, painstaking efforts to make a partner at the law firm she works for, and occasional lackluster dates don’t do much to fill the void in her life. She quickly meets, falls in love with, and is reluctantly attracted to coffee entrepreneur and fellow orphan Aaron. Aretha falls in love not only with a man named Aaron, but also with her life in Brooklyn’s Brownstone, where being with him promises her. With her desire to be with Aaron, to live an idealistic life that makes her feel so separate from her, Aretha becomes Aaron’s strange roommates’ red flags that increase every time she looks away. Ignore the gun that looks like a doomsday bunker in the backyard.

Aretha’s perspective is witty and engaging. She is determined to achieve the life she wants, to overcome every obstacle that stands in her way, and to adapt to it. Two such barriers are Aaron, his Brooklyn brownstone roommate, and eventually Aretha. Two hardcore survivalists who dedicate their lives to preparing for countless world catastrophes. Like her survivalists, Aretha longs to take control of her own uncertain future, but in her quest to exercise control she avoids ruin. instead of taking it in a new direction.

Kashana Corey is a former Midtown antitrust attorney who lives in Brooklyn.Photo: Mindy Tucker

As the novel progresses, the structure begins to loosen in an unbalanced fashion while providing more insight into the minds of the other main characters. Without signposts, the narrative hops from stream of consciousness to cultural insights, explanations, and character backgrounds, with an unpredictable omniscience that loses the reader along the way. The unpredictable narrative style thrills the reader and creates an affinity with Aretha’s own emotional state as her life unfolds.

While the protagonist’s first-hand thoughts are understandable, engaging, and often relatable, her character’s journey is less believable. It’s striking how her disdain surrounding firearms and survivalism morphs into her enthusiasm for participation as well as acceptance of that lifestyle. Rather than Aretha leading the plot of her novel, her inner monologue, while compelling, ex post justifies the choices necessary for the plot to happen. This disconnect between her character’s voice and action alienates her readers from a hitherto sympathetic Aretha, who moves from cooperating with survivalists for her own benefit to their radical lifestyle. Emphasize the steep descent until you begin to agree. Aretha’s sudden shift in logic is unpleasant, but not unfamiliar. The phenomenon is a reminder of the gradual descent into conspiratorial ideology that most people have witnessed helplessly among their chosen acquaintances, friends, or online celebrities.

The plot and structure of The Survivalist still leaves a lot to be desired, but the novel’s strength lies in the relationships between its characters and Aretha’s glorious awareness of herself and her place as a cog in the company. in the moment. Her newfound fascination with Aretha roaming the nooks and crannies of the city gives readers a unique, roaming perspective on the Brooklyn neighborhood and surrounding areas. Aretha’s vision of the Brooklyn life is in stark contrast to the chilling prosperity of the neighborhoods where Aretha works and visits. Themes of class and family wealth are frequent throughout the novel, and for Aretha, Brooklyn is not a land where her humble upbringing foreshadows a humble future.

Corey’s voice and writing skills as a writer are brilliant, and overall, her debut is a delusion of how modern adults, class, race, life in Brooklyn, and the uncertainty of the future can turn into idle thoughts. It effectively depicts whether it will change to a typical lifestyle.

About the Author: Kashana Corey is a former Midtown antitrust attorney who lives in Brooklyn. She is a screenwriter on the Fox comedy show The Great North, an opinion writer for the New York Times, and a contributor to GQ. She has written for HBO’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Pod Save America, as well as The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone. His novels are published in Esquire, Slate, Tin House and The Chronicles of Now. Kashana currently lives in Los Angeles.

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