4 of 5 stars.
When disaster looms, it’s the caretakers that sacrifice themselves, often myopically. This theme has pervaded Hollywood. In this first of three related tales [along with “Herd Immunity” and “Carriers”], Nayima has put grad school on pause to care for Gram who raised her. Gram’s cancer has gone necrotic as the two women have missed the evacuation in the face of a deadly flu pandemic.
Without neighbors, services, much food or electricity, Nayima’s only brush with the broader world is the occasional looter, distant gunshots, the rare police patrol and the constant thickening smoke from burned out neighborhoods over the horizon. She worries about the persistent fleas that stayed after the cats left.
The boldest move that she can envision is to wheel Gram’s hospital-style bed over to Mr. Yamamoto’s immaculate house across the street where they will be more comfortable. It’s a tedious endeavor with a rude welcome in the form of Sanchez, a patrol cop–they have 48 hours to clear far away from the city before it’s burned to the ground. Gram barely made it across the street . . .