When the English Fall

When the English Fall

A Novel

Book - 2017 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
9
3
A riveting and unexpected novel that questions whether a peaceful and non- violent community can survive when civilization falls apart.

Again, all are asleep, but I am not. I need sleep, but though I read and I pray, I feel too awake. My mind paces the floor.

There are shots now and again, bursts here and there, far away, and I cannot sleep. I think of this man in his hunger, shot like a rabbit raiding a garden. For what, Lord? For stealing corn intended for pigs and cattle, like the hungry prodigal helpless in a strange land.

I can hear his voice.

When a catastrophic solar storm brings about the collapse of modern civilization, an Amish community is caught up in the devastating aftermath. With their stocked larders and stores of supplies, the Amish are unaffected at first. But as the English (the Amish name for all non-Amish people) in the cities become increasingly desperate, they begin to invade nearby farms, taking whatever they want and unleashing unthinkable violence on the gentle communities.

Written as the diary of an Amish farmer named Jacob who tries to protect his family and his way of life, When the English Fall examines the idea of peace in the face of deadly chaos. Should members of a nonviolent society defy their beliefs and take up arms to defend themselves? And if they do, can they survive?

David Williams's debut novel is a thoroughly engrossing look into the closed world of the Amish, as well as a thought-provoking examination of how we live today and what remains if the center cannot hold.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781616205225
Branch Call Number: FIC Willi
Characteristics: 242 pages ; 22 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment
TSCPL_Miranda Apr 08, 2019

The premise of this book caught my interest right away--a apocalyptic scenario from the point of view of an Amish man. The "English" of the title are most of society, those who are not plain folk, rather than people from England. After a solar storm knocks out much of the grid and the supply chain breaks down, the English struggle to maintain their hold on civilization. People begin to get hungry, and desperate, and predictably, society breaks down. Our narrator hears about most of this second hand, from neighbors, as life for the Amish goes on much as it had, for a while. Eventually, people begin to trickle into the countryside, and then the plain folk are witnesses to the vigilante law and lawlessness that ensue. They have to make a choice--do they stay and let their gun bearing neighbors protect them, despite their nonviolent beliefs, or do they leave their homes behind to remain true to their principles? As human beings, where is the line that we won't cross, whether we live by a moral code or a system of shared values? Despite the intriguing premise, I wasn't sure that I would get into this one. It's written as a series of journal entries, which always has the limitation that you get one voice, one perspective, and after a while reading that journal voice can get tedious. That said, this one got it right. It was a quick, immersive read, and it didn't tie everything up neatly for the reader. I'll be thinking about this one for a while to come.

l
LeslieShort
Jan 30, 2019

This is a spare and thoughtful book and does the work of some of the best fiction by asking the question "What if?" and then answering it for the lives of one family and their friends and neighbors. When a disruption to the power grid causes disaster for the world, what is the effect on the Amish community and on the hearts and minds of one father, husband, farmer, and Christian? There aren't any easy answers and by the end, the reader is left with more questions to ponder.

DPLjennyp May 15, 2018

A fresh take on the post-apocalyptic novel...very quiet, yet moving and thoughtful told from an Amish perspective.

w
wbbauerltc
Dec 05, 2017

Wow! This book will make you think. First from a perspective of what could happen if all communications and travel come to a screeching halt and stays that way. How does one survive in a non-electric world where nothing works? What happens to society? Secondly, I was so impressed by the faith of the storyteller, an Amish family man, who is doing his best to carry on with family, friends and church in the face of a total breakdown of the "English" society. It is only a novel, but if this catastrophic event or similar one should ever really happen, I believe that it can and will be even worse than depicted.

l
LibrariCat
Nov 06, 2017

I thought it was a very thought-provoking book, delving into the struggle to live by one's ideals while surrounded by a world that is not only different, but is collapsing. One can never really be completely separate from the world at large. I think this would be a good book for discussion.

SCL_Tricia Oct 31, 2017

I read the premise of this story and thought "Wow, what a great idea!" Unfortunately it didn't live up to what I was hoping it would be. Not a recommend for me.

b
behere
Oct 16, 2017

With so many natural disasters in 2017, this book is very timely and helped open my eyes to what life has been for hurricane survivors and what it would be like to try to live without utilities. In "When the English Fall," I also see how survivors can turn against each other. A real eye opener. I found Sadie's foreknowledge to be an added mystical element which was honored.

alaude Sep 19, 2017

This book is one of the most thought provoking titles I have read in years. Narrated by an Amish man during a solar storm, when anything electric ceases to work, author David Williams begins to show us the worst of humanity through the lense of a community who strives for peace, with one major lesson: without electricity, humanity as it exists today would be unfit to survive.

Cynthia_N Sep 14, 2017

Why didn't someone think of this before? Of course the Amish people will be better prepared if the electrical grid goes down! This book is written in the format of a journal of Amish man. It's interesting because it is looking from a point of view of one focused on a nonviolent resolution to the problems created in this new world. I enjoyed it!!

Quotes

Add a Quote
b
behere
Oct 16, 2017

It is one of the things that I have learned, over the years with Hannah. A wife makes a far better helpmate if you remember to ask her before doing something. p 106

b
behere
Oct 16, 2017

Because we know, now, that as the world of the English fails around us, we are not separate. Yes, we have the Order, and yes, we have our way, but the time when that meant we stood free from the world has passed. p 190

b
behere
Oct 16, 2017

Everything in this world breaks, if you strain it hard enough. p 131.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at VPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top