Katharine Critchlow
February 22, 2008 AT 05:00 AM EST

Birmingham, 35 Miles

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
James Braziel
publisher
Bantam
genre
Science and Technology, Fiction

We gave it a B

A father and son endure after ozone depletion scorches the American South. Bad-timing casualty James Braziel tackles a story remarkably similar to 2007’s Pulitzer winner The Road. But unlike Cormac McCarthy’s lawless dystopia, his setting in Birmingham, 35 Miles features an oppressive government that places some lucky citizens in domed, air-filtered communities, and dooms others like nomadic clay miners Chris and Mat Harrison. Son Mat has a visa to enter the ”Saved World,” but he’s reluctant to leave the desert. While Braziel’s ambitious tale is vividly imagined, Mat’s senseless inertia will be as frustrating to readers as it is to his dad. B

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