FICTION / READINGS / REVIEW

James Howard Kunstler’s Post-Apocalyptic Village: The Witch of Hebron

The Witch of Hebron

Like Emily Barton’s The Testament of Yves Gundron, another novel that looks at technology and culture – through a decidedly opinionated eye – is James Howard Kunstler’s The Witch of Hebron.

The second in a series of post-apocalyptic novels (the first being World Made by Hand), Kunstler’s mythic novel imagines a remote upstate New York village following an unspecified, but cataclysmic event that has destroyed modern infrastructure and the nation-state. Survivors have recreated society at the village level, and Kunstler explores how security, food, medicine, communication, travel, religion and governance might evolve under such circumstances. Much of this speculation, particularly the erotic elements involving said Witch, and a trace of 19th-century revanchism, feels a bit like masculine, libertarian wish-fulfillment. Perhaps the idea of forming a new community and getting back to the land has a certain appeal, particularly for able-bodied guys with a knack for tools. Women with sexy magic, and plucky children, have a more tenuous row to hoe. Kunstler’s novel is ambitious and provocative, and likely to stir your own thoughts about possible futures.

Along with fiction, Kunstler is well known for his nonfiction books about suburbia (not a fan), peak oil (alarming), and technology (magical thinking).

For more non-fiction tech skepticism, read contrarian Evgeny Morozov‘s To Save Everything, Click Here.

The Gimme: Kunstler is well-known for his nonfiction, but has a wonderfully deft hand with a novel. If Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is too harrowing to contemplate, this should be your go-to post-Apocalyptic read.

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