The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway. A well loved book…



So, lets talk “The Gone Away World” by Nick Harkaway. When people ask me about my favourite books, of course there is always a King in the mix, but The Gone Away World still stands out as one of the best reading experiences I have ever had. Along with The Stand by Stephen King and The Passage by Justin Cronin it is without doubt one of the best examples of Post Apocalyptic fiction that I have ever had the pleasure of diving into. Because its different. Unique in its field and with some of the best world building I’ve ever found this one will stay with me for the rest of my reading life.

I caught up with Nick and asked him a few little questions….here is what he had to say.


The Gone Away World is quite an epic tale. How were the first seeds sewn in your mind?

Part of it was the French classic, The Wages of Fear – the working title was a straight reference: The Wages of Gonzo Lubitsch. But creative inspiration is supposed to be collision, and in TGAW everything collides – Hong Kong movies I loved, my abortive martial arts studies, existential nuclear angst… I had Ike Thermite in my head, and then the Bey, and the Evangelist (notice how she’d get on with Edie Banister?) and so on. And it all just exploded as I wrote.

The Post Apocalyptic setting is one of the best I’ve read…was the “world building” part of the novel fun to write?

It wasn’t so much world-building as making homes for those disparate characters – and some of those fragments didn’t make it. I still owe myself the Airstream Grove: a society of buses which moves continental plates beneath the wheels when they need to hold a conclave. (They live on the far side of the Border.) But the whole book was fun. I’d been feeling constrained, and I cut loose.

Some amazing groups of characters in there – which would you rather be…Ninja, Pirate or Other?


I’d be with the Bey, I think. Although I aspire to be Ike.



The Gone Away World is my no 2 book of all time, only beaten by Stephen King’s The Stand. Which novel would be your runner up?


I’m incapable of rankings. But I have favourites. At the moment: The Garden of Evening Mists; The Teleportation Accident; The Passion; ILLUMINATUS!; Jitterbug Perfume; The Shipping News.


Which character from a novel (it can be one of yours) would you like to meet in real life?


Hagbard Celine. Gandalf. Edie Banister 🙂 (Liz’s note: Edie Banister would also be one of my favourite characters in fiction. You can find her in “AngelMaker” a book I will be talking about in the future!)


No 1 item on your bucket list. If you have one…

I don’t. If I want to do something that badly, I tend to make it happen. But I generally don’t want to do things like spacewalk or sing at the Met.



Thank you so much Nick. I do have another 200 or so questions for another day perhaps…



My original Review

Probably one of the most amazing books I have ever read, I absolutely adored this. Its insane, completely compelling,clever and complex and while I was reading it I was completely absorbed into the world the author created. Its tagged as “Post Apocalyptic” fiction but it is so much more than that..A love story, a comedy, a horror, you name it you will find it somewhere within the pages. And hey, Ninja’s and Pirates, what more could a girl ask for? Don’t think…just read!


And to continue with hindsight….


The above review was written in my early days of posting reviews and I think you can see that it was done with an “enthusiastic read it now” attitude. One I still have when I’m demanding that people read this novel. So I will expand just slightly…The Gone Away World has a depth to it that cannot be put into words. Its not for everyone –  Mr Harkaway has a unique writing style, and a brilliant one at that – and the “post apocalyptic” tag can put people off if its not in their comfort zone. Don’t let it.  The characters, the world, the sheer madness of the story telling means that this is a book that you should definitely try. Go on give it a go – If you are a true reader, you MAY end up feeling like I do about it. Its one of those books….


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Happy Reading Folks!


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