Every once in a while you stumble across a book which surpasses all your expectations. 'Immobility' is one such book.
I mean, here you have, the much used trope of a post-apocalyptic scenario (although, I must admit that PA is one of my favorite sub-genres and I would read even a mediocre book if it's classified as PA fiction) with your usual wastelands, radiation and the always present hunger for food and all other things which are common in a book of such type.
But the “commonness” ends there. What we have here is an amnesiac lead character, Josef Horkai, who is woken from his cryogenic sleep after 30 years to perform a vital task for a surviving community under whose care he was stored. He cannot walk as he is paralyzed from waist down, so he is to be carried by two “mules”, Qatik and Qanik (who are human, maybe)to the place where he is to accomplish his mission of retrieving a canister whose contents are vital for the survival of the community.
In spite of the desolate surroundings, the book is filled with excellent dark humor, in fact one of the best kinds I have come across in quite a while. And the “mules”, despite being interchangeable right until very later in the novel, come across as very resolute of characters, and also one of the many characters you’ll really care about as the book progresses.
The book defies the major trope of post-apocalyptic fiction that is selfishness, and the characters portray an unflinching quality of selflessness (especially the “mules”), and of course to an extent Horkai himself, despite his own reservations, tries to remain obedient to the cause.
By the end I asked myself, what would I do in such circumstances? And I found myself agreeing with all of the characters, good or bad, because when I mulled over the story in my head, I concluded that each character did his best under such trying circumstances and I would have done exactly the same, more or less.
You can’t say that about many books, can you?