My brother Joshua hipped me to the existence of this book on Friday. I bought it on Kindle for Mac yesterday…

Here’s some more info on the novel, from the intro to a solid interview with author Ken Layne (who’s also the editor-in-chief at Wonkette [!]):

Composed as a collection of letters from a character called “N,” Dignity is set in the ruined housing tracts and bountiful desert of the American Southwest. The housing crisis has emptied the subdivisions, and the economic collapse has filled the cities with chaos and despair.

As Layne writes:

“Like villagers in a medieval town visited by the Black Death, the Californians were huddling together in terror, burying their dead, and doubtful they could care for more young. The long Western boom had staggered to a halt.”

In the midst of this apocalypse, a few resourceful people form self-reliant desert communities in their region’s foreclosed houses and abandoned strip malls. From the shells of this collapsing civilization comes a new way of life: The citizens of these new communities grow their food, school their children, create art, take long walks through their gardens and the surrounding wilderness, and enjoy a sane and balanced relationship with their natural surroundings, themselves and each other.

After the exodus to escape persecution in the city, the communities find they’ve been followed into the exurban ghost towns. As the mysterious character “B” says: “In their sickness, they will strike out at those in good health.”

Read the interview here: Q & A With Ken Layne On His Book ‘Dignity’

Buy the book here: Amazon

And if you live in Joshua Tree and this scenario sounds interesting to you, you may wish to join the Hi-Desert Barnraisers


About jay babcock

JT Homesteader, Arthur Magazine ... Joshua Tree, CA ...
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  1. thomasfj says:

    The walled-in tract home communities with their gated security guard manned entry portals have always reminded me of feudal castle/towns. Maybe this is what they were unintended for. I guess there could be a silver lining to all this “enjoy a sane and balanced relationship with their natural surroundings, themselves and each other.” Hmm… what could have followed them – zombies??? I guess I’ll just have to get that book. Oh.. if we only had more empty strip malls and tract homes in Joshua Tree… I guess we’re used to it already, as this area has a long history of abandoned dreams… Homestead cabins sprinkled throughout the landscape… some have transformed into Builtmores, some left to slowly decay in a beautiful slow motion free fall fight with gravity and the elements. California is the bleeding boom and bust edge of civilization. Never a dull moment.

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