This was not at all what I expected I did not expect this to be a loosely veiled fantasy of child pornography, fetishism, and sex There are multiple episodes of the 11 year old main character watching grown men masturbating, watching people engaged is sex, and a touching scene of the 11 year old and a 13 year old prostitute having sex Oh, and the adults engaged in the sex trafficking of boys as young as six The premises of the book is fantastic with the post apocalyptic societal regression but was overtaken by a disturbing sexual focus that quickly became the plot The author s view of women was barbaric and one dimensional I would never recommend this book to anyone I know I wonder if the authorities shouldn t keep a close eye on the author and his obsession with child pornography.
In The Sequel To His Novel, World Made By Hand, Kunstler Expands On His Vision Of A Post Oil Society With A New Novel About An America In Which The Electricity Has Flickered Off, The Internet Is A Distant Memory, And The Government Is Little Than A Rumor In The Tiny Hamlet Of Union Grove, New York, Travel Is Horse Drawn And Farming Is Back At The Center Of Life But It S No Pastoral Haven Wars Are Fought Over Dwindling Resources And Illness Is A Constant Presence Bandits Roam The Countryside, Preying On The Weak And A Sinister Cult Threatens To Shatter Union Grove S Fragile Stability In A Book That Is Both Shocking Yet Eerily Convincing, Kunstler Seamlessly Weaves Hot Button Issues Such As The Decline Of Oil And The Perils Of Climate Change Into A Compelling Narrative Of Violence, Religious Hysteria, Innocence Lost, And Love Found While the characters and plot had promise, the effect of the novel felt very hollow to me I can only point to the prose itself, where phrases were coined from cerebral rather than visual or emotional words Some moments were evident where the writer tried to be writer ly, which threw a wet blanket on the whole scene and depressed the mood going forward Although visual descriptions were offered, none burned in my mind like other works I ve read, yet many should have While the characters moved and spoke and acted, none evoked that distinct perfume that distinguishes one from the others Frankly, the plot surprises were but jolts, like hitting small pot holes in the road none fascinated nor intrigued me The novel has paranormal elements, which themselves should be interesting, but strangely, never fulfilled the promise In a world where so much was lost, and the reader was constantly reminded of the ways things had been, the sense was not deep nor tragic, and often faded to a drab background I was unconvinced of the author s vision of that world, and of the characters moving through it That said, the handling of story and descriptive texts were competent, so my rating is 3.
5, but not enough magic transpired to move it to 4 stars.
The Witch of Hebron is the sequel to James Howard Kunstler s first novel A World Made By Hand and like the first it is filled with stories that concern the residents of an Upstate NY town in a postapocalyptic world The people in these books have had to suffer through a Middle Eastern war that resulted in Washington, DC being nuked and all foreign oil ceasing to flow to the US A decade or two after this life has gone back to a late 19th century feel where people travel by horse, the doctor grows opium for surgical use, and most people never venture beyond their home county This book begins with the death of a boy s dog The boy is Jasper, the 11 year old son of the town doctor and his beloved dog was kicked by a spooked horse The horse is a prize stallion belonging to Brother Jobe, the leader of the mysterious New Faith sect that has recently arrived in town and purchased the old high school as a base of operations Other principal characters are the road bandit Billy Bones who will sing you his song before he robs you, the town s congregationalist minister who is having a crisis of faith and masculinity, Jasper s father, Brother Jobe who is said to have mysterious powers, and The Witch of Hebron herself This book was a pleasure to read It is a kind of gentle apocalypse where the lives of the characters becomes intensely local This is the type of book that would be written if Wendell Berry decided to pen postapocalyptic fiction The narrative and the plot flow much better here than in Kunstler s first novel.
Kunstler makes the post oil life in a small upstate NY town sound a little too good to be true Sure, half of the US population is dead, there s no electricity and people don t stray too far from home because of packs of roving banditsbut there s still fresh garden produce, local cheese, homemade wine and friendly neighbors I am not sure of the author s message We well, half of us will pull through the collapse of the world as we know it and establish a much simpler, but maybe richer, life You better make sure that you live in a small town if you want to come out on the other side of Armageddon Start stockpiling guns, seeds and clothes now so that you have something to protect yourself with and plenty to barter Sarcasm aside, I actually enjoyed this book it s a sequel to World Made By Hand despite the somewhat romanticized view of the future There are some dark scenes that seem believable and it s always interesting to think about the what ifs I enjoyed this second book of the World Made By Hand series and would give it a 3.
5 star rating perhaps as I already had some familiarity with the setting and the characters The author paints, in my opinion, a rose coloured view of this new post oil, post pandemic America, however, I still found it engaging and informative The characters of Union Grove are well developed and well rounded I also found the sub cultures in this new society quite interesting the religious order, the regular town folk, the plantation colony with it s lord and master and well cared for serfs and the outsiders I enjoyed the narrative of how these groups interact with one another and how each is adjusting and adapting to a simpler life In addition, there is the mystic aspect which is examined in detail in this book the religious leader and the queen bee , the hermit, the witch that the title of the book refers to Looking forward to the next in the series.
Kuntstler continues his story of the people of Union Grove, New York, in a world without oil, electricity, and technology The second volume takes a turn toward the supernatural with glimpses into the powers of Brother Jobe and a new character, The Witch of Hebron Kuntsler adds to his circle of characters with a singing bandit, Billy Bones who composes a ballad about his exploits, victim by victim a chilling portrait of an anti social personality Kuntsler delivers a story of despair and hope in a world that remains made by hand.
If I were to call this book comical, it would mean that the author had intended it to be as such So I can t do that Because I m certain that it wasn t intentionally comical I laughed out loud for the absurdity of some of it I couldn t help myself The fact that the writer is taking this seriously made it all the hilarious.
A melodramatic post apocalyptic tale a genre which I think I may steer clear of for a time, seeing as how it is all anyone can form a story around that comes off unintentionally silly, often campy, and stale With the premise the world running out of the fossil fuels we so desperately need to continue our current standard of living it would seem that you could create soemthing epic and brilliant Something that has a deep and thoughtful meaning behind it as well as an entertaining story The fact that this is an actual possibility in the near future, lends the only sense of urgency this book generates The prose is brittle to the touch but instead that being a beautiful quality, it instead makes it feel old and stymied If that weren t enought to make you steer clear of the book altogether, the characters are flat and boring imitations of characters you ve seen before in every other Stephen King book There is something human about them, but not enough You don t give two shits about what happens to them or where they re going It s like watching mold grow The mouldering characters, the stale writing, the brittle sentence structure and the unnecessary landscape styled descriptions make this book an enormous bore.
I won this through First Reads I was a little worried when I got this that I might not be able to follow it because I hadn t read World Made by Hand Fortunately, this is one of those sequels that completely stands alone It s a cozy post apocalyptic story in which a boy runs away, gets tied up with a crazy bandit named Billy Bones, several people meet a mysterious woman, and a band of Jesus freaks really are freaks It had a very old fashioned feel to it, kind of like Alas, Babylon or Earth Abides However, it also was clearly a book for our time The apocalypse was a slow one It s the kind that seems to be trending right now The world goes backwards as the oil supply gets cut off, electricity is no longer being generated, and disease has taken a chunk of the population However, the fall of American civilization is just something that s happened and people go on as best they can Just as in any period in history, there are some real creeps out there, but most of the people are good I really enjoyed this book and have downloaded the audiobook of World Made by Hand because I want.