The Hunger

The Hunger

A Novel

Book - 2018
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"A tense and gripping reimagining of one of America's most fascinating historical moments: the Donner Party with a supernatural twist. Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos. They cannot seem to escape tragedy...or the feelings that someone--or something--is stalking them. Whether it's a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the ninety men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history. As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains...and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along. Effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical, The Hunger is an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780735212510
Branch Call Number: KATSU
Characteristics: 376 pages : map ; 24 cm


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Staff Book Review: The Hunger

As a fan of both historical fiction and supernatural horror, when I heard there was a new novel out about the Donner Party, I knew I had to read it. Enter Alma Katsu’s new novel, The Hunger. Set in 1846, this novel is based on the true story of the Donner Party, a doomed group of 100 people heading to California’s fertile valley farmland by way of wagon train. As tragedy after tragedy (more)

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"It showcases the best, as well as the worst, parts of human nature " - Mandi

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Karen_Weber Jul 11, 2018

An alternative and fictional account of what REALLY happened to the famous Reed-Donner party and their doomed 1860s expedition from Springfield, Missouri to the western edges of the US. A fascinating look into local lore and legends of settlers and native people. This story left me wanting. The pace was slow and repetitive. I often lost track of characters because they were referred to by different names (first name, last name, nickname...). It was an interesting concept but I didn't love it.

Beatricksy Jun 23, 2018

Disappoiiiiiiinted. I was fascinated by the first, oh, third of the book. It was slow, yes, but in a dreadful building kind of way, subtle and sneaky and sending gentle chills down the readers' spines. It was cautiously introducing characters to us while keeping their deep dark secrets hidden, so that it could tantalizingly hold these morsels of character development in front of us. For all its intense build up in the first third, the book fell into a long meandering wander for the middle, seemed to forget itself, and then never could quite recover in the end, where things just HAPPEN, and things happen so quickly all of a sudden that it feels chaotic and confusing...and somehow boring and mundane and cliche. Considering the fame of the Donner Party is the last bit of their lives in the mountains, it sure blitzed by the reader quickly. It's a book that wants to look at the darkness in humans, but it does so clumsily, with a message that I can't quite seem to figure out. To be fair, it does look at its time period, with its racism and casual abuses and such, very well, and it does have a good sense of place. I simply felt like I was promised one thing and got another, and the end result is just muddled and rather unappealing to look at. Like a pile of bloated corpses in the snow.

fineplan May 16, 2018

Character driven historical horror with a deep sense of paranoia.

Obviously, the Donner Party events are horrifying in their own right, but Katsu is able to distill the terror even further with her addition of possibly supernatural elements. There are numerous familiar seeming horror elements that pop up (is Tamsen really a witch? what's with the weird half-dead looking guy? plains spirits? etc.) and many of the characters feel they are unforgivable or broken. This all ramps up the paranoia level about what is really going on.

At first I thought the flashbacks slowed things down a bit too much -- and they do waver at that line. Overall, however, they add much to the story as they not only deepen our connection to the characters, but also allow for the exploration of other themes such as redemption.

Apr 03, 2018

Historical fiction with a supernatural flavor. A well written and captivating take on the ill-fated Donner party, with a good writing style and strong characterization.

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