Review: The Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole

Author: Nick Cole
Title: The Old Man and the Wasteland
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: E-Book
Copy Provided by: Edelweiss
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Science Fiction
Publication Date: January 22, 2013

(The Old Man and the Wasteland)

Part Hemingway, part Cormac McCarthy's The Road, a suspenseful odyssey into the dark heart of the post-apocalyptic American Southwest.

Forty years after the destruction of civilization, human beings are reduced to salvaging the ruins of a broken world. One survivor's most prized possession is Hemingway's classic The Old Man and the Sea. With the words of the novel echoing across the wasteland, a living victim of the Nuclear Holocaust journeys into the unknown to break a curse.

What follows is an incredible tale of grit and endurance. A lone traveler must survive the desert wilderness and mankind gone savage to discover the truth of Hemingway's classic tale of man versus nature.


Have you ever heard the term Slow Burn? If you haven't, basically it means a steadily penetrating show of anger or contempt. This book is a slow burn. I wanted to like it, I did but the more the pages went on the more disgusted I became. Yet, I went against my better judgement and kept reading. On and on the slow and painful build up went. I kept thinking is something significant going to happen now? What about now? Then to my surprise it's like a light went on and all that built up frustration, annoyance, and anger clicked together. My mind wasn't blown but I did see what the writer was trying to achieve even if the execution failed to impress.

If you haven't noticed, The Old Man and the Wasteland is based on The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway. In the book the main character even has a copy that he salvaged on one of his wasteland expeditions. I haven't read The Old Man and the Sea since High School and that was quite a bit ago so needless to say I didn't remember it much. Course if I had, I might of known what type of book I was setting out to read and avoided it in the first place. Anyway that is rather here nor there moving on...

Let's talk about some of the technical points of the story.

The Writing- Even though I don't remember The Old Man and the Sea the writing still felt very Hemmingway. Is that a good thing though? I say no. Listen, Hemmingway was a brilliant writer but I felt that Nick Cole was trying to imitate him a bit to much losing himself in the process. In places I even had to go back and reread whole sections because parts didn't make sense which leads me back to this being a slow burn type of read.

World Building- OK, I will give the Author some credit I actually enjoyed the world building. We get to see some nice glimpses of the before time as well as moments that took place as the disaster was happening. Overall I'd say these scenes were by far my favorite so much that it actually disappoints me that the author chose to write the book he did instead of a unique apocalyptic tale all his own.

Now I know I sound like I downright hated this book and to tell you the truth at times I did but I can see glimpses of greatness in between the lines and that spurred me on. One of my favorite scenes takes place between the old man and a "blind" hotel owner. I won't give it away but the scene is great and had some nice twists that broke up the the monotony of the scenes before it.

Overall, Would I recommend this book? Yes, but I'd really stress borrowing before buying. You might like it, heck you might even love it, I however wouldn't feel right saying to go buy this book knowing how much I struggled with it. In the the end I did like The Old Man and the Wasteland but it felt like it took to long for me to come to that realization. The above mentioned combined with the overall choppiness in parts causing me to go back and reread whole sections leaves me rating The Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole ★★★. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great, it just sort of exists and sometimes that's the worst book of them all.

Now for my questions:

Have you heard of this book? If so, Do you plan on reading it?
Have you ever read Ernest Hemmingway's work?
Let me know your answers in the comments below, I love reading all your responses!


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