Mullen, Thomas 1974(?)-
Mullen, Thomas 1974(?)-
PERSONAL: Born c. 1974, in Providence, RI; married; children: a son. Education: Graduate of Oberlin College. Hobbies and other interests: Music, film, travel, and hiking.
ADDRESSES: Home—Washington, DC. Agent—Susan Golomb, Susan Golomb Literary Agency, 875 Avenue of the Americas, Ste. 2302, New York, NY 10001.
CAREER: Writer. Has worked for a fast food company, consulting firm, a senior-citizen-run thrift store, a research center on alcohol and drug addictions, and a small publisher of newsletters.
The Last Town on Earth: A Novel, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.
ADAPTATIONS: The Last Town on Earth has been optioned for film by DreamWorks.
SIDELIGHTS: In his first book, The Last Town on Earth: A Novel, author Thomas Mullen writes of a murder in the woods near Commonwealth, Washington, a utopian timber town that seeks to keep out the horrific 1918 influenza epidemic by quarantining itself. As the story begins, the novel’s protagonist, sixteen-year-old Philip Worthy, son of the timber mill owner Charles Worthy, is on guard duty with Graham Stone. Their orders are to keep people out. When a tired and hungry soldier comes by and fails to heed their warning to stay away, he is shot dead by Graham. Nevertheless, the epidemic finally hits Commonwealth with tragic results. In the meantime, a second soldier held prisoner has also been killed by Graham, leading Philip, who comes down with the virulent flu, to confront the man he once admired.
Noting that the author makes his tale analogous to modern-day concerns about “contagious viruses, obsession with foreign operatives, and repression of political dissent,” Joanne Wilkinson also noted in Booklist the novel’s “foreboding atmosphere.” A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that the author’s “debut gets mileage out of the gruesome epidemic and contains some interesting historical nuggets.” Max Byrd, writing in the New York Times Book Review, referred to The Last Town on Earth as “remarkable,” adding that “time and again, Mullen’s suspenseful storytelling pulls us forward.” Byrd continued: “Time and again, his imagery—from the ‘logs bobbing on the water’s surface like corpses’ to the whole town, seen ‘in full eclipse’—is devastatingly right.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Booklist, July 1, 2006, Joanne Wilkinson, review of The Last Town on Earth: A Novel, p. 31.
Entertainment Weekly, August 25, 2006, Karen Karbo, review of The Last Town on Earth, p. 91.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2006, review of The Last Town on Earth, p. S10; June 15, 2006, review of The Last Town on Earth, p. 59.
Library Journal, July 1, 2006, Jim Coan, review of The Last Town on Earth, p. 68.
New York Times Book Review, September 3, 2006, Max Byrd, review of The Last Town on Earth, p. 15.
Publishers Weekly, June 6, 2005, Jason Anthony, “Update: First-Time Author Thomas Mullen Got a Double-Dose of Immediate Gratification Last Week Courtesy of the Publishing and Film Worlds,” p. 10.
USA Today, September 6, 2006, Jocelyn McClurg, review of The Last Town on Earth.
Thomas Mullen Home Page, http://www.thomasmullen.net (January 22, 2007).*