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Hard Times in Babylon

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Hard Times in Babylon by Rustin Thompson

    The Story of One Man’s Personal Pandemic Battle

    Throughout the world, each person’s individual experience with the global pandemic was different. Many people felt anger, fear, helpless. Others dug in for a long haul and tried to stay positive. Children and young adults suffered sadness and loss. This debut novel by Rustin Thompson is one man’s story of desperation. It is raw and will resonate with many. Here is my book review Hard Times in Babylon by Rustin Thompson.

    Covid in 2072

    Thompson starts the novel in 2072. More than fifty years have passed since Covid One and the planet is now under the siege of Covid Four. The pandemic has never really gone away, and tens of millions have died, mostly those unvaccinated. This world fifty years in the future was partially foretold by writers after the 2020 Pandemic. But at the time, these writers could not find a publisher. No one wanted to read about what they had just lived through. But fifty years on, one man’s story is told. The story of little known author Richard Duvall.

    Covid in 2020

    Richard Duvall finds his life in limbo, feeling unconnected, immaterial and depressed. Suicide has crossed his mind. The pandemic has really hit home in Seattle and Richard and his wife Beth are feeling the pinch. Already suffering malaise as a sixty-something man battling a sense of irrelevance, the pandemic brings Richard to the brink.

    Richard’s tiny bubble of family, a handful of friends and a couple of neighbors is what keeps him going while political stupidity flows like a river through the United States.

    Covid and Mental Health

    It’s no secret how many people throughout the drama of the pandemic had similar feelings as our protagonist Richard. Even four years on, mental health issues related to the pandemic persist. As do ongoing staffing issues, economic issues and supply issues. Hard Times in Babylon made me think more deeply about my own personal experiences of the Pandemic. Though I never felt suicidal I certainly had fears. I feared for the collapse of my country. I feared for the collapse of the banking system and supply chain. And I definitely feared for my children and their futures. Addressing these fears and acknowledging that other people suffered similarly is a good tool to healing.

    History Repeats

    For thousands of years plagues of all kinds have taken entire populations. And yet, life goes on. Books like Cloud Cuckoo Land and Station Eleven, two of my favorites, look at how past and future generations deal with fear, hunger, violence, plague, anarchy and life expectancy. Despite Covid and our current unstable political situation, we still are living in some of the best of times. What comes next? Thompson ends his book in 2072 with a frightening speculative scenario about Covid Four. But will Richard Duvall survive Covid One as he teeters on the edge of depression and personal tormoil? His story in 2020 ends with a hopeful phrase;

    So much life. All around us. So much life.

    Book Review Hard Times in Babylon by Rustin Thompson

    Thank you for reading my book review Hard Times in Babylon by Rustin Thompson.

    Thompson is a Seattle based author and has self-published this first novel. I have known him and his wife for many years. Getting published is a difficult task and I congratulate him on his efforts.

    *****Five stars for Hard Times in Babylon by Rustin Thompson.

    Read last week’s book review A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay. We love it when you comment, share and pin our book reviews. Thank you.