Written by Kashana Cauley

Publisher: Soft Skull Press
Pages: 299
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller
Published: 2023-01-10
Original Language: English

A single Black lawyer puts her career and personal moral code at risk when she moves in with her coffee entrepreneur boyfriend and his doomsday-prepping roommates in a novel that’s packed with tension, curiosity, humor, and wit from a writer with serious comedy credentials. In the wake of her parents’ death, Aretha, a habitually single Black lawyer, has had only one obsession in life—success—until she falls for Aaron, a coffee entrepreneur. Moving into his Brooklyn brownstone to live along with his Hurricane Sandy-traumatized, illegal-gun-stockpiling, optimized-soy-protein-eating, bunker-building roommates, Aretha finds that her dreams of making partner are slipping away, replaced by an underground world, one of selling guns and training for a doomsday that’s maybe just around the corner.

Read from 2023-04-08 to 2023-04-10
Read in English
Rating: 4/5
Review: Firstly: If you haven’t already, don’t read the synopsis of this book. I didn’t, and I’m glad I didn’t. I really think the book benefits from not knowing even a little bit about where it’s going to go. For what it’s worth, I won’t be writing anything below that I think may spoil any enjoyment in the way I think the synopsis does.

That said, in The Survivalists we join Aretha going about her life being a lawyer in New York, in her search for love and a future for herself. She’s a workaholic in the kind of way that’s expected of her in her line of work, and is going through life doing all the right things waiting for all the right things to happen to her. She meets a guy, Aaron, and he’s the perfect guy! Sure, there are some trade-offs to be made in a relationship this good, but isn’t there always?

The book starts out as a light, funny, read, where we’re following a lady living her life in a way one would or could expect one’s own life to play out in her circumstances. And then the book… doesn’t take a turn, exactly, but it shifts. It becomes gradually more and more intense, and gives off the feeling of a train that’s still on the tracks, but that could go off them at any moment. The book is a bit of a slow burner, but by the time I was halfway in I had gone from being entertained by it to being hooked by it.

Unfortunately, while the ending isn’t at all bad, I feel like the book was doing an excellent job building up to an ending that never quite happened. I don’t want to spoil anything by being too specific, and I expect there was a bit of a point in itself to the ending letting me down a bit, but I was definitely left feeling hungry for more.

In any case, The Survivalists is a great book, effortlessly funny, gripping enough to make an hour seem like ten minutes, and always entertaining. I’d definitely recommend it as an overall feel-good-but-also-kind-of-wait-what? read.