• Book Review: "Living Hunger" by Dennis Larsen

    Living Hunger by Dennis Larsen, paints a picture of a post-apocalyptic world set in 2020. The global war that knocked out the infrastructure, and caused the breakdown of the governments and military of the world, also led to chemicals in the atmosphere for the survivors, causing medical issues on top of the daily struggle to rebuild their lives.

    The story follows two brothers, Farrell and Rod Jensen. Farrell is ex-military, and officer who managed to make it home to find no one left in his family other than Rod. They find the Allens, their neighbors from before the war. Together, they and other survivors from their pre-war town, take refuge in a school, and become the Bear River community. But their peaceful yet difficult life, is disrupted by Don Bullock, a selfish man for whom survival and community are not enough.

    The focus on community and their day-to-day solutions is interesting. These people do not have major issues falling back on previous technology; they make due with what they could find. Their major issues are medical, caused by a lack of ability to absorb the nutrients needed. This primarily results in a lack of fertility and children who don't survive birth, especially in a devastating world they're trying to rebuild.
    Rod's interest Alison, a young widow, is a significant character. Her experience in facing the death of her newborn, illustrates these issues in a way that wrenches the heart.

    The book does an excellent job showing the hardship of a world with a lot of deaths, both medical and through violence. In Don and Solomon, his assassin, the book shows the depths of human depravity, brought out in crisis, but this is contrasted to the supporting environment of the Bear River community. It portrays a black and white view of human nature.

    It is thorough and has a plenty of description of both action and non-action scenes, so the reader can imagine themselves in the world. The dialogue is amusing at times and harsh when it needed to be and was appropriate to the rural community. One example of the author’s style is this paragraph:
    A thinning morning fog hung loosely in the air that was dissipating rapidly as the warmth of the sun heated the moisture and sent it skyward. A collection of men milled about, drinking their morning coffee and hot chocolate just outside Old Main. To the casual spectator it was obvious they were not preparing for a picnic. Each man carried multiple weapons and enough ammunition to start a small revolution. The theme for the day would be ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’.
    The resiliency of the human spirit, community, and faith are some of the themes examined in the book. It shows hope after the tragedy of war. The characters are the type of people who not only survive, but also ensure that their neighbors and families do, without losing their humanity along the way. These characters are not pinning for a world that passed, nor are they reduced to accepting the end of humanity.

    The epilogue is an excellent snapshot of these characters that points towards the next book in the series. If you love to see human beings who respond well in realistic situations, even in the darkest of times, and manage to push back against the evil in the world, then this book is highly-recommended for you.

    Get "Living Hunger" at Amazon.com

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