World Made by Hand
In his previous book, celebrated social commentator James Howard Kunstler explored how the age of globalization and mankind’s explosive progress over the last two hundred years was based on the availability of cheap fossil fuels. He observed that the terminal decline of oil production, combined with the perils of climate change, had the potential to put industrial civilization out of business. Offering a shocking vision for the coming trauma of our post-oil future, The Long Emergency was a tremendous success and a best seller, selling over 100,000 copies. With World Made by Hand, an astonishing work of speculative fiction, Kunstler makes an imaginative leap into the future, a few decades hence, and shows us what life may be like following the long emergency. For the townspeople of Union Grove, New York, the future is not what they thought it would be. After the catastrophes converged–the end of oil, climate change, global pandemics, and resource wars–they are doing whatever they can to get by. Transportation is slow and dangerous, so food is grown locally at great expense of time and energy, and the outside world is largely unknown. There may be a president and he may be in Minneapolis now, but people aren’t sure. As the heat of summer intensifies our narrator, Robert Earle, former marketing executive turned carpenter, and his fellow residents of Union Grove struggle with the new way of life. Their challenges play out in a dazzling, fully realized world of abandoned highways and empty houses, horses working the fields and rivers replenished with fish. Driven by realistic conflicts and peopled with relatable, engaging characters, World Made by Hand is a novel full of love and loss, violence and power, sex and drugs, depression and desperation, but also plenty of hope. This is an extraordinary book, sure to appeal to Kunstler’s legion of fans as well as new readers attracted by the accomplished storytelling of an experienced writer.