A History of the Future
A World Made by Hand Novelby James Howard Kunstler
The third of Kunstler’s acclaimed “World Made By Hand” novels, A History of the Future chronicles a winter in Union Grove where celebration mixes with tragedy.
The electricity has flickered out. The automobile age is over. The people of the little town of Union Grove in upstate New York know little about what is going on outside Washington County, but a messenger is returning with the news . . .
A History of the Future is the thrilling third novel in Kunstler’s World Made by Hand series. 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. Fir swags, wreaths, balsam branches, winterberry, and holly deck the houses, and the newly opened Union Tavern is serving beers, ciders, and whiskeys made in the county. On a stormy Christmas Eve, 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 breakup of the nation into three independent regions, describing his journey first over to Lake Michigan and then into the dark heart of the New Foxfire Republic, centered in Tennessee and controlled by the female evangelical despot (and former country music star) Loving Morrow. Meanwhile, Union Grove is stunned when a young mother, in the throes of illness, murders her husband and infant son. Town magistrate Stephen Bullock is in a hanging mood.
“The World Made by Hand series continues with increasing literary finesse in the third installment. . . . Kunstler skewers everything from kitsch to greed, prejudice, bloodshed, and brainwashing in this wily, funny, rip-roaring, and profoundly provocative page-turner.” —Booklist (starred review)
“The arrival of this latest addition to James Howard Kunstler’s post-apocalyptic World Made by Hand series reminds me that time is running out for me to get started reading these books . . . After all, the world could collapse any minute—as it does in these novels.” —The Quivering Pen
“After reading the novel you will come away with an appreciation for self-sufficiency . . . I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a realistic picture into the not too distant future.” —TheBurningPlatform.com
Being Christmas week, a palpable air of festivity energized the town. Fir swags festooned the porches and wreaths hung on doors. Lighted candles on windowsills flickered defiance against the year’s longest nights. Men and their children dragged balsam trees out of the woods and pine scent filled the crisp air all over town. Women pinned bright red sprays of winterberry on their knitted hats as they went around trading and visiting. Horses wore holly sprigs on their cruppers as they clip-clopped along the streets. A bright sense of the holiday affected even the gloomier personalities around town, those who struggled with adjusting to the new ways in the new times. All that was missing was snow. The bare ground made everyone impatient for a new look. It had rained a few times the week previous, but when colder air finally swept through it felt as dry as the distant Canadian prairie it came from.