- Reading West Kill Creek, the new novel by Shawn Purcell, I was drawn into a richly imagined world that combines history, social science and nature with elegant storytelling. In this epic, ambitious and entertaining work of fiction, Purcell fuses the dark fear of future consequences in a land run amok with a human drama that sets the struggle of man and society rediscovering elemental truths of good and evil.
As the story is set in the hills and valleys of New York's Northern Catskill Mountains, Purcell makes the colonial history of Schoharie County as vivid and real as the post-apocalyptic narrative of the fight for survival of a small band of heroic men and women in a savage world without rules. Although set locally, the striking imagery and complex characters tell a universal tale that forces one to confront the meaning and direction of our modern industrialized world.
Steve Gross, author / photographer of Time Wearing Out Memory, Schoharie County
- This is a yarn about the potential demise of civilization that in quieter moments draws heavily on the rich history of the locale where these survivors happen to have ended up, which is Schoharie County, from Native American habitation to the pre-apocalyptic present.
The New York History Blog
- There’s great enthusiasm in Purcell’s writing here from the get-go. He’s good with our Upstate experiences hunkering down as bad weather hits, diving into whatever we’ve stored up for such times, gaining confidence as we survive without basic appliances. He also plays well off the innate loneliness of rural life and how it can lead us to hide from neighbors one moment and band with them like family the next.
The plot here is strong enough, too — a lethal virus wipes out much of society. Those left struggle, make do as gas and other supplies run out. Then things turn mean. Think of James Howard Kunstler’s gone-gas extravaganzas, without any small town ambience left. And Purcell’s adept at reaching back to engage a reader with his chosen territory’s rich but relatively unknown history, especially one like me who’s got reason to thirst for such things.
- This very readable book follows a small band of people who try to survive in rural Schoharie County after a lethal virus has wiped out most of civilization.
Albany Times Union
- A uniquely written viewpoint of an after-the-apocalypse book--thoroughly enjoyed it...
- If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know I’m a fan of post-apocalyptic novels and West Kill Creek fits the bill but in a completely different way from what we’re used to reading.
- West Kill Creek is a heady hybrid of sci-fi dystopia and Thoreauvian transcendentalism...
- Purcell's intimate knowledge of Schoharie County and surrounding areas makes this book work. The strategies employed by "Dar", the main character, to survive are plausible; and that is what we ask for in these books: are they believable? The answer to that is "Yes. I can see people trying to survive that way." For that reason alone I would reccomend to any fan of the post apocalypse to go and read this book.
The last reason is it made me think! This book is different enough that days after I finished it I am still running parts of the story through my mind, examining and reexamining them.
- We loved this book! Wish Shawn Purcell would write a follow up!
- I've probably read this book over fifty times! Shawn Purcell