Y: The Last Man – Whys and Wherefores

As promised, I’ve finished Y. Whys and Wherefores felt very much like the last volume that it was, from start to finish. Although there are certainly plot elements left to resolve (not least among them Yorick’s years-long quest to reunite with his girlfriend, Beth), the primary purpose of the book was clearly the tying up of loose ends and general denouement, which is appropriate after a series this long. It worked just as you’d expect, structurally.

What I’ve been trying to decide since I read it (and in the handful of hours I spent staring at the mostly blank screen after I wrote the first sentence this morning) is how I felt about the ending from a purely story-driven perspective. And of course, spoilers mean not being allowed to really go into details, nor even wanting to. Whatever else it was, it was a powerful finish. Which I guess answers my question pretty well all by itself. It’s also a very thoughtful finish. I’m not sure if introspective is the right word to apply to static history imprinted onto dead trees, but even if I cannot apply it to the book, it certainly applies to my mood after the fact.

Shakespeare has been on my mind all along, of course, and well on purpose. I’ll have to reread these someday as a single unit while watching for Shakespeare in general, all English-majory and analytical, but my point right now is that it has occurred to me, with surprising belatedness, that Yorick certainly qualifies for the descriptor of a fellow of infinite jest, which is good: played differently, The Last Man‘s potential for unrelenting grimness would have overwhelmed any other possible message. In retrospect, I’m starting to think that the Walking Dead series might suffer from a terminal case of the same disease.

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