The opening flits among the characters, but once the mentally ill but well-meaning Karen shows up, the novel ignites ... Ruta deeply sympathizes with the damaged and their worlds ... Despite the heavy subject matter, comic moments leaven the book ... There’s little mention of fault, and it’s an unexpected relief not to have venal and irrational heads of state quarreling over their red phones ... Instead of staging a mass die-off from flu as Emily St. John Mandel brilliantly imagined in Station Eleven, Ruta is realistic: There are no scrambles to a shelter, no messy survivors, no lingering horrors. 'A world … that never ends is even scarier,' Kurt protests. Happy Last Day.
Ruta delicately sketches the large cast of characters—as well as their dreams, fears, and failures—with care. She’s able to pinpoint certain universal feelings with precision ... The novel falters in its final stretch when the plot becomes cluttered with too many secondary characters. Despite this, Ruta’s talent shines when she writes about the natural world ... A beautiful portrait of humanity in the shadow of a dying Earth.