Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Witch of Hebron, by James Howard Kunstler

The Witch of Hebron: A World Made by Hand NovelThe world as we know it no longer exists.  There is no oil, or electricity, no cars, no order.  In this post apocalyptic society, man will do what he must to survive.  We follow the tribulations of the townsfolk of Union Grove, New York, as they try to make some sense of the world they are living in.  Central to the story is the tale of young Jasper, who runs away after an act of revenge, only to find he must face result of this vengeance no matter where he runs.

When the person on the tour who had the book before me could not finish it, I should have known then what I was in for.  I have to say, I totally did not "get" this book at all.  I found the whole thing incoherent for the majority of the text.  It is only in the last 1/5 of the book that the story comes together.  While this is a sequel, I had not read the first text, so the story was foreign to me.  The characters were equally foreign, and I found very little character development.  Each chapter focuses on a different character, and for over half the book, I was getting several of the characters confused, because there was little to distinguish many of them.

I was not able to suspend disbelief for this book, though not because I think the story implausible; on the contrary, I think a situation like this could easily occur.  No, I could not suspend disbelief because there was not enough of a foundation laid for me to adequately understand this society.  They resorted to old fashioned methods of labor, but did they dress in old fashioned clothes, or modern clothes.  Were the religious sect members more old fashioned than the rest, like Mennonites?  The whole thing was just very disjointed.

I am disappointed, because the story had real potential, but overall I found it lacking.  I will not be going back to read the previous book.

A touring review copy of this book was made available by Crazy Book Tours.