For my blogpost I would like to introduce the novel Soon by Lois Murphy and would make a recommendation for you to read it.
The novel deals with an abandoned city in the Australian outback, only a few people remained living there and the official road sign into town has been removed – but why is that?
The fictitious city of Nebulah is hunted, hunted at night. But also, during the day, something feels off, even the birds have left town. Murphy creates an amazing atmosphere where we as readers can really feel the silence and the uneasy atmosphere that surrounds the city. She plays with the theme of the uncanny when on winter solstice a mystique mist arrives to town. This mist makes your darkest dreams and fears come true. Sometimes it even portrays pictures and makes people reappear that you are familiar with. The only escape is your home, a closed off space with doors and windows shut, curtains drawn and the tv on maximum volume to make the awful sounds of the outside disappear.
The mist only appears at night, so “if you are out at night, you are already dead” (Murphy). During the day the last three residents try to carry on with their everyday lives. The ex-policeman Pete and his dog, Milli and Li try to stick together and remain living in the only place that they have ever called home.
The story of Nebulah and its residents is not only scary and horrific, but also sad and very personal since the readers get to know every character and experience their lives. Each of the character has a personal story and a reason to stay in Nebulah – explaining why they cannot leave this horrific place. It’s a story of failed dreams and goals but also of friendship and a chosen family.
Does the story sound familiar to you? Well Murphy said in an interview a huge inspiration was the story of The Mist by Stephen King. But she also mentioned that the story of Nebulah is based on a real-life town she came across during her travels. A similar fate reached the city of Wittenoom in Australia. Wittenoom is also almost completely abandoned by its former residents. Wittenoom was Australia’s only supplier of blue asbestos, but due to growing health concerns from asbestos mining in the area, the site was shut down and people began to move away. Now the area around Wittenoom is declared the largest contaminated site of Australia. However, until 2021 two people remained living in Wittenoom….
If reading the novel this story of Wittenoom reminds you of the story of Nebulah, well, don’t be surprised. Even so, Wittenoom was not hunted by a horrific mist but by poisonous asbestos. I recommend you to read Soon and dive into the story of Nebulah. Some parts of the story are written with such suspense you imagine living there yourself and running for your life, running to close the door behind you when the sun leaves the sky…