In the twenty-seventh chapter of Feed, Shaun finds a reason to move on. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Feed.
So where do you go from here?
I mean, how do you build an entire fictional world around the narration of a specific character and then take that voice out of the story? It is risky move, but I’m beginning to see just how Grant is going to take Shaun and the readers through this process. Is it going to be easy? No. This chapter is liberally littered with so many gut-wrenching sentences that it’s still difficult to read it, even though I’ve had a week to cope with the events of chapter twenty-six.
Seriously, have I ever been so unprepared for a plot twist? Grant just broke an expected rule of storytelling: you just don’t kill your first-person narrator. Here, though, Shaun takes over the narration of the book, and while the changes are subtle, it’s clear that Shaun is the one leading the story. Truthfully, Shaun and Georgia are both very no-nonsense people, so their styles are similar in ways, at least in terms of how Grant writes them. Just from a single chapter of his point of view, it’s clear that he’s got this running wit going on inside his mind. Though, its utilization here is heartbreaking. Having just outlasted his sister, something he never prepared, he relies on these bleak moments of humor to get from one minute to the next.
And that’s really a smart choice on Grant’s part. This chapter picks up in the immediate moments after Georgia’s death. You know, I entertained the idea that the narrative might have jumped to the future, but now I’m thinking that that doesn’t make any sense. There are so many things left undone, and by switching to Shaun so quickly, we’re reminded of the chaotic urgency of the situation. He’s locked in his van with his dead sister. He could be infected. There is a battle outside the doors of that vehicle, and he can see it unfolding on the camera feeds. Then the questions start rolling in: Did Georgia’s message get out? Is Rick still alive? What about Ryman and Tate? Where are they? Who else died?
I should say that Shaun isn’t actually asking these questions. He’s already begun to shut down completely, unprepared to cope with this situation. That’s clear when Rick does get in contact with Shaun. Shaun doesn’t care much for the future because he’s not sure he wants one. He is only barely interested in whether Georgia’s story is getting traction, and expresses no surprise at all when their doctor friend at the CDC releases a press release confirming Georgia’s death. Rick almost sounds elated, but the truth is that Shaun truly believes that Georgia died for absolutely nothing. There is no point to this.
Y’all, this is just so fucked up. And I say that a lot, and THIS BOOK HAS REALLY SET THE BAR OF BEING FUCKED UP. Like, go back and read all of Shaun’s parts when he speaks to Mahir. He is so detached from what’s happening that he’s making this bizarre jokes about the situation. His whole, “There’s been a clerical error” part just kills me every time. It’s a joke I would have smirked at had he made it to Georgia. Now, I know it’s all he has left. This is so wrong to him. He was supposed to have died first! He was the Irwin! But what’s he supposed to do now without his family or friends?
First Buffy, now George. Two down, one to go, and the more I forced myself out of the comfort of my shock, the more I realized that the story wasn’t over. It didn’t have an ending. George would have hated that.
And there it is. A reason. It’s a reason to press the emergency beacon. It’s a reason to get out of that van. It’s a reason to greet Steve with joy. Shaun wants to give Georgia an end to her story.
HOLD ME. MY HEART.
I mean, first of all, that makes me incredibly nervous. While this gives Shaun a motivation to continue on, it’s only one reason with very few possible outcomes, especially once you factor in this:
You can’t go hunting United States governors with a generic revolver. It simply isn’t done.
OH. OH MY GOD!!!!1!!! HE’S GOING TO GO HUNT DOWN TATE? Of course, this is a logistical nightmare. Wait, no, it would be one without one perfect ally: Steve. Bless Mira Grant for giving Steve such an incredible characterization that hinges on this very moment. If it were not for what he’d experienced over the course of Feed, he never would have opened that door for Shaun and driven him back to confront Tate. He never would have agreed to do this and offer up himself and his boys as help.
So here’s where we stand: Shaun has given control of After the End Times to Mahir, which means it’s entirely possible that Shaun is also expendable at this point. And really, what other outcomes can exist from a confrontation with Tate? Either Shaun succeeds at killing him in some dramatic showdown, or Shaun is killed in the process. And let’s say Shaun does kill Tate. How the fuck do you get out of that? That’s assassination of a political leader.
I genuinely have no goddamn clue how this is going to end. That is both incredibly exciting and fucking terrifying.
The video for this chapter was commissioned by THE ACTUAL LISA AND RICK WHOSE NAMESAKES APPEAR INÂ FEED. HOW COOL IS THAT.
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