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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Audible Book Review: The Witch of Hebron: A World Made by Hand Novel, Book 2 by James Howard Kunstler

This EOTWAWKI is a bit raw but intriguing.
The Witch of Hebron: A World Made by Hand Novel, Book 2
By: James Howard Kunstler
Narrated by: Jim Meskimen

The Witch of Hebron  By  cover art
Series: World Made By Hand, Book 2
Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
Release date: 09-07-10
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Genre: Metaphysical Fiction, Post Apocalyptic
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0 Overall; Story 4.25; Narration 4.25.

Publisher's Summary
In the sequel to his best-selling World Made by Hand, James Howard 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 more 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. Here is a novel that seamlessly weaves hot-button issues like the decline of oil and the perils of climate change into a compelling narrative of violence, religious hysteria, innocence lost, and love found—a cautionary tale with an optimistic heart.
Already a renowned social commentator and a best-selling novelist and nonfiction writer, Kunstler has recently attained even greater prominence in the global conversation about energy and the environment. In the last two years he has been the focus of a long profile in the New Yorker, the subject of a full-page essay in the New York Times Book Review, and his wildly popular blog and podcast have made him a sought-after speaker who gives dozens of lectures and scores of media interviews each year.
©2010 James Howard Kunstler (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

This post-apocalyptic series is not an action packed EOTWAWKI but instead is character and drama driven. This second book expands on describing the world where the survivors are living in without power and trying to relearn skills that existed before electricity, cars, tractors, medical facilities and more. There are local rivalries that are just tense, and there are bandits and killers who are frightening.

A big portion of this story is centered on Jasper, the Doctor’s 11-year-old son. When Jasper’s puppy gets killed accidentally, Jasper is desolated. He allows his anger to push him into an act of revenge, after which he runs away to find a new life elsewhere. Jasper meets a mix of people on his adventure. He offers to help nurse a man in pain and then is cheated when he asks for food. He is then forced to become an unwilling protégé of a deranged psychopath. Along the way he finds kindness from a young girl a couple of years older and finally he helps and is helped by a self-titled witch.

The witch plays an important role interacting in separate encounters with a handful of men from Union Grove. These men include Jasper’s father and the man who is seeking to confront Jasper over his act of revenge. The ‘witch’ is a curious mix of hostess, herbalist, dream hacker and female companion.

Kunstler provides some background to the fall of society and to the history of the local religious group. He writes with strong detail and presents a world of natural and complex emotions. The events occur near Halloween and there is some dark rawness in the stark evil described. This is offset by some beauty through the author’s storytelling. I am interested in listening to the next book, The Harrows of Spring.

Audio Notes: Jim Meskimen does a very good job with the narration. He shares appropriate voices and energy for the characters. He delivers with a calm undertone until he needs to portray the manic nature of a particular character. I enjoyed the audio version which added to the entertainment value for me.

Source: 12/21/2020 Audible Plus Catalog. This qualifies for 2021TBR and 2021Audiobook goals.

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