The Down Days|Ilze Hugo
The Down Days
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In the vein of The Book of M comes a fast-paced, character-driven literary apocalyptic novel that explores life, love, and loss in a post-truth society.

In the aftermath of a deadly outbreak--reminiscent of the 1962 event of mass hysteria that was the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic--a city at the tip of Africa is losing its mind, with residents experiencing hallucinations and paranoia. Is it simply another episode of mass hysteria, or something more sinister? In a quarantined city in which the inexplicable has already occurred, rumors, superstitions, and conspiracy theories abound.

During these strange days, Faith works as a fulltime corpse collector and a freelance "truthologist," putting together disparate pieces of information to solve problems. But after Faith agrees to help an orphaned girl find her abducted baby brother, she begins to wonder whether the boy is even real. Meanwhile, a young man named Sans who trades in illicit goods is so distracted by a glimpse of his dream woman that he lets a bag of money he owes his gang partners go missing-leaving him desperately searching for both and soon questioning his own sanity.

Over the course of a single week, the paths of Faith, Sans, and a cast of other hustlers--including a data dealer, a drug addict, a sin eater, and a hyena man--will cross and intertwine as they move about the city, looking for lost souls, uncertain absolution, and answers that may not exist.

This item is Non-Returnable


  • ISBN-13: 9781982121549
  • ISBN-10: 1982121548
  • Publisher: Skybound Books
  • Publish Date: May 2020
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Page Count: 368

The Down Days

A mysterious illness grips a country. The public health department scrambles to respond and enforce mandatory quarantines. It’s a story that could have been ripped from headlines about the coronavirus. But that’s where the similarities with The Down Days end—at least we should hope so, or else we’re in for a wild ride.

The Down Days is set in Sick City, a coastal African city afflicted with a deadly laughter epidemic that has turned society upside down. People have reorganized their daily lives around not getting sick and making a quick buck however they can. Although the Virus Patrol and mandatory health checks give the appearance of a government in charge, residents are increasingly suspicious. Rumors abound that the citizenry is being doped with hallucinogens, and lately, rumors carry as much weight as the truth. After all, why put your faith in science if it can’t explain—or cure—this disease?

At the center of the novel is Faith, a “dead collector” who is asked by a teen girl to find her missing baby brother. But in the twisty plot of The Down Days, the fates of a dozen characters are woven together, including some who turn out to be ghosts. The line between the living world and the afterlife has blurred, and Sick City must contend with the goings-on of the spiritual realm along with everyday existence. It’s complicated, and the reader doesn’t know any better than the characters about what’s real, what’s a hallucination, who is a ghost or who is a charlatan. Ultimately, the novel asks you to imagine an alternate reality that constantly changes shape. 

Readers who enjoy meaty speculative fiction like The Power by Naomi Alderman will find much to chew on in The Down Days, which poses extremely timely questions about faith, authority, hope and conspiracy theories.