This is a day to day survival and character driven dystopia.
By: James Howard Kunstler
Narrated by: Jim Meskimen
Series: World Made By Hand, Book 3
Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins
Release date: 08-05-14
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Genre: Dystopian, Metaphysical Fiction, Post Apocalyptic
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0 Overall; Story 4.0; Narration 4.25.
A History of the Future is the third thrilling novel in Kunstler’s World Made by Hand series, an exploration of family and morality as played out in the small town of Union Grove.
Following the catastrophes of the 21st century – the pandemics, the environmental disaster, the end of oil, the ensuing chaos – people are doing whatever they can to get by and pursuing a simpler and sometimes happier existence. In little Union Grove in upstate New York, the townspeople are preparing for Christmas. Without the consumerist shopping frenzy that dogged the holidays of the previous age, the season has become a time to focus on family and loved ones. It is a stormy Christmas Eve when Robert Earle’s son Daniel arrives back from his two years of sojourning throughout what is left of the United States. He collapses from exhaustion and illness, but as he recovers, he tells the story of the break-up of the nation into three uneasy independent regions and his journey into the dark heart of the new Foxfire Republic centered in Tennessee and led by the female evangelical despot Loving Morrow. In the background, Union Grove has been shocked by the Christmas Eve double murder by a young mother of her husband and infant son. Town magistrate Stephen Bullock is in a hanging mood.
A History of the Future is attention-grabbing and provocative but also lyrical, tender, and comic – a vision of a future of America that is becoming more and more convincing, and perhaps even desirable, with each passing day.
©2014 James Kunstler (P)2014 Blackstone Audio
This is the third book in the series. It tells the day to day struggles of various members of the community of Union Grove in upstate New York. The people are preparing for Christmas although it may be bleak. There will be choirs to remind the townspeople of the true meaning of Christmas even if there won’t be many gifts.
The story focuses on the usual primary characters which include key townspeople, like the mayor, Robert Earle, the head pastor of the New Faith Covenant Brotherhood Church of Jesus, Brother Jobe, and the community wealth baron, Stephen Bullock. There are some new characters as well — a family involved in murder, and the most important, Robert’s wandering son, Daniel. Daniel and another young man left two years before to find out what happened to the rest of the United States.
Daniel’s story of his travels, betrayals and adventures are shared in several chapters as the other events continue in town. Daniel is able to fill in details of other regions of the states, including a purported “federal’ group in the Midwest, and two battling factions in the South. Daniel’s involvements seem a bit far-fetched but the events allows the author to offer different society scenarios and adds interest to the more mundane nature of the story.
The author has the ability to build entertainment around everyday event and observances. This series isn’t particularly exciting like many of the post-apocalyptic, dystopian stories I read, but it has its own engaging appeal. There continues to be some mild sexual scenes, pleasant and unpleasant. There are also moments of societal tensions as the community leaders tussle on how they will address social issues such as abuse, mental illness and murder.
I hope to listen to book 4 soon as it has the word “Spring” for my season challenge. I also want to see how the characters go forward and how Mr. Kunstler wraps up the community. I recommend this to fans of survival dystopia.
Audio Notes: Jim Meskimen’s narration adds to the story. He provides unique voices that helps the reader/listener feel like they are in the community. I am glad that I have this series from Audible.
World Made By Hand: A World Made by Hand Novel, Book 1 by James Howard Kunstler
The Witch of Hebron: A World Made by Hand Novel, Book 2 by James Howard Kunstler